It’s long been said by social media researchers that there are two types of Facebook users. The voyeurs and the narcissists. And I’m sure the cross-breed narcissistic voyeur is also somewhere out there.
Sitting in a Barcelona restaurant last weekend I watched this couple eat dinner together, share a laugh over a glass of wine and then as if something in the conversation might have sparked it, two Blackberrys appeared. Dinner for two suddenly turned into dinner for four.
The couple took photos, squealed with laughter and then uploaded to Facebook and shared notes. Intermittently I glanced over, seeing them take photo after photo of each other, then presumably tagging each other and then er, howling with laughter at friends’ comments.
But after more than 30 minutes I realized that the Blackberrys became this invisible tentpole holding up the entire evening’s conversation for them. It doesn’t relegate the fun they were having – I’ve rarely seen such animated dinner conversation – but the point is more that experiences and emotions are being mediated, formed and stored in our mobile phone, making them the best dinner guests ever.