I often like to engage in micro surveys as I’m traveling (it’s a habit and I’m seeking help for this condition). On a recent trip to Chicago to attend the AAF Edge Effect conference, I found myself on a morning express commuter train from Arlington Heights to downtown.
In the “old days,” you might have seen the entire car filled with people reading the morning edition of the newspaper (yes, there was an evening edition for the ride home). Today, most people were looking at their phones at one time or another. Of this small, one-train-car sample I found:
- 15% of the people were reading the morning newspaper
- 25% were wearing headphones
- 7% were working on a laptop
- 50% were actively engaged on their smartphones
Sure, the world has changed, but in this microcosm of Midwest commuters it is easy to see how fragmented we all are. The lady in front of me was playing her video game. The gentleman to my left was listening to Pandora. The man in front was emailing. Digital, print, audio and nothing at all were present and accounted for—except for books. Not one was found. It will take more research, of course, and many more rides to downtown Chicago, but my initial findings show that we live in a fragmented world. Shared experiences are less likely to happen, so they need to be more celebrated when they occur.