Peggy Nelson argues that everyone being on their mobile phones all the time — even while at a dinner for two — isn’t rude, it signals a shift from our society’s emphasis on the individual to the networked “flow”.
We’ve moved from the etiquette of the individual to the etiquette of the flow.
This is not mob rule, nor is it the fearsome hive mind, the sound of six billion vuvuzelas buzzing. This is not individuals giving up their autonomy or their rational agency. This is individuals choosing to be in touch with each other constantly, exchanging stories and striving for greater connection. The network does not replace the individual, but augments it. We have become individuals-plus-networks, and our ideas immediately have somewhere to go. As a result we’re always having all of our conversations now, flexible geometries of nodes and strands, with links and laughing and gossip and facts flying back and forth. But the real message is movement.
My new standard of cool: when I’m hanging out with you, I never see your phone ever ever ever.
If we’re hanging out and you pull out your iPhone to water your Farmville crops, we can no longer be friends. It’s not me, it’s you.