When I first started farming with my dad I was still in University. The Internet was nothing more than a novelty and life on the farm was pretty simple. Every morning dad would swing by the farm, pick me up like clockwork at 6:45 a.m., and we would head to town for coffee before starting work for the day.
The funny part about the coffee shop was that it wasn’t really open at this time. The bar/hotel owner just gave a key to one of the "regulars" to open it in the morning and put the coffee on. Payment for this awful brew of tap water and Nabob was left on the table by everyone following an honor system. I am sure they made way more per cup than Starbucks but nobody ever cared, as it was more about catching up on the local gossip, weather, and visiting with other farmers in your area. I am sure for many of you out there reading that this is still the ritual and you are very fortunate.
Like all things this daily social event came to an end, as some patrons (including myself) just got too busy to stop. As less patrons showed up eventually the morning coffee stopped. Looking back, the coffee shop still makes me smile when I think of the funny nuances of this ritual like assigned seating. Until recently, I never realized how much Twitter and YouTube have become the daily coffee shop to many.
A couple observations between social media and the coffee shop came to mind. During this 30-minute socialization, even if there were only six people, there were at least eight conversations going on at a time. Much like Twitter, you would pick up pieces of all the conversations and participate by adding fragments of your own opinions. A large amount of the content was useless noise; however, you would somehow always pick up something of value by participating.
Facebook and the morning coffee have the most direct similarities, as Facebook is your chosen circle of friends to follow and where your updates often result in multiple comments. Of course what Facebook does even better than the morning coffee is keep us updated on what everyone else is doing along with what they are planning to do.
As fast as technology is evolving, it is really being driven by the fact that we are social beings and we will find ways, regardless of technology, to satisfy that need. We used to drive to town for a morning coffee and spend half an hour getting our daily interaction. Now we log in over our morning coffee to see what is going on with those we choose to follow.