The Art of Socialization


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This is my ignite talk on how people socialize and how it's changing with the increased use of technology

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  • So the cream line represents the time people in 2008 spent socialising... But people socialise while they are eating, working and travelling as well.
  • Breakfast cereals invented at the end of the 19 th century: breakfast cereal was a food that had to be heavily promoted to convince people to change their habits. “ It is ironic, considering that classic image of the “cornflake packet family” that few products have accelerated the decline of eating breakfast together more than packaged cereals.” – Christina Hardyment
  • A survey from the American Dietetic Association finds that 75 percent of office workers eat lunch at their desks as often as two or three times a week.
  • Robert Putman uses the decline in meal preparation times and the rise in solitary dining on TV dinners as indicators of the loss of “social capital”, the sense of solidarity that binds American Society together
  • Portable coffee – they said in Italy that customers prefer to get the cardboard take out cups even if they are drinking it in the coffee shop. ‘ There’s a relationship of trust and confidence in that environment’. Schultz discovered that there were 200,000 coffee bars in Italy, with some 1500 in Milan alone.
  • Dunbar argued that gossip evolved as a sort of vocal grooming, suitable for the larger groups in which humans live. Around 2/3s of conversation is taken up not with intellectual or practical matters but with gossip about personal relationships, likes and dislikes, and the behaviour of others. Robert Dunbar Offices – used to gossip, at tea break... Then they introduced vending machine in 1950’s so gossip went down as people had coffee breaks at different times.
  • Then socialisation increased with the introduction of photocopiers as people aggregated around them to gossip. But it decreased again with computers - Research by Space Syntax suggests that around 80 percent of work conversations happen when one person simply passes another’s desk. An earlier MIT study conducted in the 1970s, found that office workers were 4 times more likely to talk if they are sat 6 rather than 60 feet apart, and that people seated more than 7 feet apart hardly speak at all. Email makes both meaningful and meaningless communication easier, and allows us to conduct electronic conversations that could be more quickly and efficiently conducted by the old-fashioned technology of talking. People suggest that it is becoming harder to talk casually in modern workplaces. Dunbar argues that much modern work involved tenuous connections with people on the other end of a telephone line or email server, and that the desire to cut occupancy costs encourages firms to get rid of communal spaces. This devalues the “chance encounters over the coffee machine, idle chatter around the photocopier” where the casual contacts can function like a parallel processing supercomputer, generating ideas that individuals could never have on their own.
  • Trains: When the train arrived in the 1830s, it soon became a more anonymous form of travel. The greater comfort of a railway carriage encouraged musing and window gazing, and made solitary activities like reading, writing, sewing and sleeping easier. In the 1960s, the Canadian sociologist Erving Goffman came up with the term ‘civil inattention’ to describe the polite ways in which we ignore other people’s presence in these temporarily shared environments, from thousand-yard stares, to burying ourselves in newspapers. To alleviate crowding on the trains, in 2002, they started ripping out the seats.
  • According to one historian, television was the social solvent of the 1950s the way that the war had been in the 1940s. In 1949, “putting an aerial outside your house was a guarantee of a social life” & people created mini cinemas for their neighbours”
  • ATM & internet banking - Telephone and internet backing remove the need for high street banks to deal with their customers in person. never have to ask anyone ever again...
  • Positives of internet: can stay in touch with people you would not text and let them know what you are doing so keep connected Internet -forums – can meet new people online and converse with them over topics which interest you. Internet -twitter – can encounter LOCAL new people and talk with them in REAL TIME over topics which interest you and encounter NEW topics
  • Mobile Phones Using our state of the art mobile phone to complain to a friend or colleague that our train is running late instead of telling the person next to us is a perfect illustration of the unevenness of progress in daily life. but you can now stay in touch with people you may not otherwise keep in contact with...
  • When mass observation conducted research in north west pubs in 1930s, it discovered that drinking was not the main motivation for going to the pub. Pub going was a social habit, a temporary liberation that was the equivalent of music, dancing or other tribal ceremonies
  • Why is smoking “an international, wordless language that breaks down – if only for a few moments – the inevitable awkwardness between people who are not quite strangers and not quite friends.”
  • Small towns to Big cities – brain detects any differences in the landscape but in big cities – everyone looks the same...probably why we try and STAND OUT
  • couchsurfing
  • Why should half a dozen persons, each with minds to think and tongues to express their thoughts, sit looking at each other mumchance, as though they were afraid of employing the faculty of speech?” So the next time you are standing next to some one , waiting for a bus or plane, ask yourself what the Travellers companion complained about in 1862: “ Generally speaking, the occupants of a railway carriage perform the whole of the journey in silence... This is most unnatural and unreasonable.”
  • The Art of Socialization

    1. 1. Adrian Avendano From ignite 2009 Socialisation 2.0
    2. 2. Time spent “socializing”
    3. 3. Changes in Eating Patterns: Breakfast
    4. 4. Changes in Eating Patterns: Lunch Dining “al desko” Portable Sandwich
    5. 5. Changes in Eating Patterns: Dinner
    6. 6. Coffee house in milano- copying starbucks – full circle ‘ Coffeehouses in Italy are a third place for people , after home and work. Changes in Drinking Patterns: Coffee
    7. 7. 1950’s Changes in Work Patterns: Gossip
    8. 8. 1970’s Changes in Work Patterns: Gossip
    9. 9. Changes in Travelling Patterns: Civil Inattention One person shell
    10. 10. Changes in Entertainment Patterns:
    11. 11. Changes in Chores Patterns: Shopping, Banking, Information seeking
    12. 12. Connect with new people and old friends Some Rebellion & Progress?
    13. 13. but you can now stay in touch with people To “Reconnect us” The train is running late....
    14. 14. So... Why? <ul><li>Why have things changed... Why do we need a motivation to talk to strangers? </li></ul>
    15. 15. Why are people awkward? Why are we developing ways to be away from each other? Is it because of convenience, or do we want to have less contact with humans? Why must we be asking for a lighter in order to “talk to people face-to-face”?
    16. 16. Hunter Gatherer-2 million years <ul><li>Hunter gatherers – Had a strong tribal Identity and it was essential for survival </li></ul>Some guesses... We were never designed to fly So interacting with strangers was never “normal”
    17. 17. Our brains Superior Colliculus – Midbrain Tectum
    18. 18. But we are social animals <ul><li>Emotions are contagious </li></ul><ul><li>Eye contact releases dopamine </li></ul>
    19. 19. Second Lives Online and Social Gaming will never be enough... Or will it? “ Escape to IMVU”
    20. 20. Proof we can change our behaviour: Couchsurfing