Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The Silence of the Socks

After a brief interregnum -  which I ascribe to the rush of Valentine's Day - Mr Socks is back. Regular readers will be familiar with Mark Hall, Gentleman Creation Officer, who matches a pitch for online sock delivery with intriguing observations on social etiquette.

It started out as a bit of fun, but I am increasingly being seduced by Mr Sock's nostalgia perspective on good manners and public graces.

Although I am never quite sure where he sources his figures, Mr Socks has some statistics about the consequences of Facebook and Twitter and Mobile Phones. And, like he says, they are shocking. Let's have a look. 

80% admitted to playing on their smart phone or Internet tablet during dinner

I don't have either a smart phone or a tablet, but I do fiddle about with my knife and fork between courses.

76% sit in silence with their partners most evenings while browsing the web

I am out every night at the theatre.

84% said they got angry when they were interrupted while using a smart phone or tablet

I get agree if someone Facebook messages me when I am trying to play Avengers Alliance, so I imagine this one is true.

98% said they had never held a dinner party
I am sure that I have. Only I might not have cooked dinner in three years, preferring to grab something on the bus, on the way to the theatre.

82% said they hadn't read a book in over a year

Okay, that one does appall me. Although perhaps the same number are too busy reading blogs? I mean, why read The Empty Space when I probably mention the best bits in a review about Cain's Book at The Arches?

Given my fascination with Mr Socks, and my frequent complaints that he is encouraging a reactive attitude to contemporary living, I am almost sorry to say that he got me on this one. The Internet is becoming a substitute for lived experience. And if anecdotal evidence is needed - you know, what newspapers often have instead of research - I am sitting in Tramway, alone, and have just told my friends at the Box Office that, while I find their conversations stimulating, I wanted to get online.

Then again, as my relatives will point out, talking to me online is far more palatable than having me in your face in real life. No need to deal with the personal hygiene issues, and when I start on about the nature of contemporary dance, there's an off-switch. 

Besides, a friend might feed you, tell you a joke, suggest a fun activity or share your emotional anxieties. The internet, on the other hand, has a thousand ways to anonymously bother people and find out about celebrity lifestyles. 

"There's a time to play with your phone, and a time to switch it off," retorts Mr Socks. "Just for once, go out and have an actual conversation. The results will amaze you."

That is me told. Mind you, I can follow him on twitter now 

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