Commentary

Sure Signs That Society Is Starting To Crumble

According to a new Forrester Research study, approximately half of the U.S. population accesses the Internet at least weekly from a smartphone. Apparently, 68% do so in a car, 64% in the living room, 63% in a restaurant, 61% in a bedroom, 51% in the kitchen, 50% in the bathroom, 45% on public transit, and 31% in a home office.

While Forrester to my knowledge didn't ask whether those cars were moving, that's still a goddamned scary percentage of folks who think that it’s okay to drive and surf at the same time. As a former runner and current biker, I can tell you the scariest thing you ever see on the road is someone in a moving car texting or Web surfing rather than watching the road. In my little town, about a year ago, a local teenage girl killed a runner while she was online on her phone. A housewife killed a guy at his mailbox while changing a DVD in her car. I am sure both are terribly sorry, but that is of little consolation to the victims' families. If you are in that 68%, will you stop it? Now. Forever. Next report I would like to see that metric down to 1% or 0%.

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That 50%-in-the-bathroom stat speaks volumes about the decline of the magazine business. While the "habits" of buying, subscribing to and reading magazines are in the last stages of addiction recovery, the last bastion of the glossies was the bathroom. It was the only real reason to have magazines in the house anymore. But if folks would rather read five or ten minutes worth of tweets instead of a magazine story, it doesn't matter who runs Time Inc. or who bought Maxim: Death stands persistently at the industry's far-forward, righthand door.

I worry about the 31% in a home office who need their smartphones to access the Internet. That means the cable is out (again) and they may miss the last episode of “Breaking Bad,” an event nearly as monumental as the sudden stop of “The Sopranos” that sent audiences by the thousand to complain that the cable was out (again). My prediction: Walt will go back to teaching chemistry, because the teacher's union provides better benefits than a barrel of money.

To combat the effects of running and biking, I like to spend time in the kitchen altering recipes to increase their fat and sugar content. Nothing makes food taste better than more butter and/or sugar -- unless it is salt. Hell, I have a dessert recipe that includes cake batter, cream cheese and a couple cups of sugar. Everyone loves it. But if you spend any time at all in the kitchen (other than searching noisily for more Doritos or Fudgsicles), you know that once you have started baking, there is no way on earth you can handle electronics. Too many ingredients on your hands (and often, the floor). So I am a little skeptical about that 51% who say they smartphone the Internet in their kitchen. It CAN'T be from the dinner table, since smartphones are banned from the table, right? Right?

If someone asked me on a dinner date, I think I would reserve a response until I determined whether they were one of the 63% who phone-surf in a restaurant. It is bad enough to be rudely checking your phone for texts and emails at dinner, but going on the Internet? Really? Can't wait a couple hours to check your porn sites? That 63% is too high a percentage for just settling bets (beside which, you can text ChaCha, and get an answer faster than waiting for sites to load).

Or maybe there are lots of lonely yous out there eating alone. After which you head home, and go online from your bedroom? No wonder you are eating alone.

2 comments about "Sure Signs That Society Is Starting To Crumble".
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  1. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, September 27, 2013 at 9:30 a.m.

    Victims' families ? What about the victims ?

  2. Chintamani Rao from Independent Marketing and Media Consultant, September 28, 2013 at 2:14 a.m.

    The victims are beyond consoling, Paula Lynn: they died.

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