Picture this: you’re tired of the four walls of your home, but have a huge deadline to conquer. Or, better yet, you wish you had a deadline to conquer and are on the job hunt. Where do you go when you need quiet space with Wifi with a hot cup of tea thrown in for $4? Your local coffeeshop. With a pair of headphones and your latest Spotify playlist, you will be coasting through Indeed in no time.
According to Ben Schreckinger of Slate, this is not the ideal situation. In his February 2014 article, “There Will Never Be Another American Revolution,” Schreckinger cites the “noise gap [that] has developed in American public life” as a problem. With louder bars and quieter coffeeshops, real conversation—and real change—is impossible.
As Emerging Media leaders, it is easy for us to reason that this extremely quiet and extremely loud space problem isn’t, well, a problem. Those individuals typing away on their laptops? They could be creating social media posts that alert people across the world to injustices in their own communities. The quick use of Tinder at a bar to skip yelling over the sound of music? It could lead to a lifetime of happiness and, possibly, marriage. Our ability to make change hasn’t been eliminated. Instead, the places where we make that change have shifted to the digital realm, instead of at the round tables or comfy booths of our forefathers.
Between Schreckinger and Emerging Media leaders, there has to be a compromise. It is a little freaky that chatting with your friend at Starbuck’s feels like yelling in a library. And we all know those social justice posts on Facebook can be easy to scroll past. Because we are the next generation of leaders and have to figure out how to use this technology for good, perhaps we should focus on making coffeeshops and bars a place for meet-ups again. We can so easily reach those with similar interests online; let’s start a revolution by bringing those people together, taking off the headphones, and talking face-to-face.
Cassidy Duckett @CDBrittLoyola
Emerging Media Graduate Student