Will WiFi Make Coffeeshops Into Public Living Rooms Again? (Essay #1)


WiFi is a standard for communication between a device and a signal center usually called a hub. This wireless signal transmists information enabling the device users to benefit from a network such as Internet. WiFi is available free at many coffeehouses, public buildings, organizations and similar locations. WiFi signal usually is not secure and can be intercepted but does move very fast making it attractive.

This fast, cheap and available signal has spawned a new lifestyle. Many people, such as myself, are used to dragging a laptop to a coffeehouse as an alternative location for doing online work. The presence of many individuals at a coffeeshop make for a different atmosphere and culture. What is this new culture? What is this new lifestyle? I have been spending a good deal of time sitting a coffeeshops using my laptop and WiFi. I am not alone. I see dozens to many more who also use Internet as I do. What are the implications of individuals moving workstations with them and using Internet at very casual and public locations?

What about WiFi bringing professionals into coffeeshops as an alternate workspace? Will they make this trend permanent and coffeeshops once again become THE alternate office space for professionals? Will this result in a new lifestyle of spending a few hours in a coffeeshop regularly to use Internet and socialize? Will coffeeshops become THE place to gather for low key social gatherings on a regular basis because WiFi users frequent them anyway? I would like to know.

Coffeehouses originally were places of gathering and doing business by the locals. Much political activity also took place at the coffeeshops to such extent they were banned and closed often historically. The coffeeshop does have the dynamics for individual and group activities. We know this from history. The chaotic and unrestrained atmosphere of a coffeeshop probably had a good deal to do with this. I believe coffeeshops, historically, were public living rooms and that is why so many of them were needed. People visited the locations frequented by those of like minds and interests. The purchase of a coffee or tea was not the basis for the existence of coffeeshops. The meeting of numerous regulars with similar interests was.

I am interested in coffeeshops as locations capable of more than simple coffee and tea sales. I believe coffeeshops have the potential for very strong informal social lifestyle activities. I believe only a small portion of the population actually take advantage of the potential of coffeeshops. I would like to know if the coffeeshops can become a strong social hub as they once were. I am curious if every neighborhood would have dozens of coffeeshops someday and locals, by habit and lifestyle, would frequent them as they do their living rooms. I am curious if WiFi will make coffeeshops vital again?


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