I received an e-mail from the Transport for London today, that made me a bit sad. Some of the most frequented London Underground stations, such as Oxford Circus, King’s Cross St. Pancras, Victoria and a couple of other ones got a wireless coverage, allowing the passengers in ticket halls, corridors and platforms happily use free internet (after a registration, of course). Before the Games, there should be 80 Tube stations with WiFi coverage.
Now, everyone with a smart device in their pocket can access internet while waiting for their train at the enabled stations. Eager commuters can check when is the next train due, tourists can find out what line they should take if there is a closure and businessmen may search for the most efficient journey from King’s Cross to Kensington Olympia. Cool, isn’t it?
I understand that internet access might decrease the travellers’ enquiries the poor Underground staff has to answer all day every day. Important messages can be served to the customers, and even possibly pushed into the devices. So far so good.
But there is also The Dark Side.
I always feel the urge to check my e-mail, when I’m online. In the worst case scenario, the e-mails are actually pushed to my device automagically and disturb me whenever it is least convenient. I even found myself checking e-mails during holiday, when I have a web connection. I can’t escape it.
And there are social networks too. So tempting, so time wasting. And Google with all the information on the planet behind one search field. And news sites. And .
We are waking up and going to bed with our smartphones and tablets. We are consuming web in the morning, during the day at work, and before we fall asleep. Scary! Where is the time for thinking? Time to clear the mind, time for innovative and creative thinking, or for just switching off? The internet is everywhere, so close, so tempting. It’s so easy to kill some time with it. Probably too easy.
And now it invaded one of the last havens in the uberbusy London. I wonder how many of us, who used to daydream on the platforms, will start googling and facebooking and tweeting instead.
The advancement in technology and the spread of the web is unstoppable, as are the changes to our behaviour patterns. God bless the Transport for London for not installing the WiFi into the trains themselves. We can enjoy a short while of disconnection from all the hassle of the internet there, at least for now.