Couple Surfing – The Wave Of The Future?

Imagine going on lunch date where you don’t talk to your partner. Instead, you communicate via IM from your notebook to her. Sounds crazy? Well, it’s happening more than you think. As a matter of fact, this is happening so often that a new term has been given for it; Couple-surfing.

Couple-surfing describes “netaholics” or “infomaniacs” who surf alongside each other – doing together what used to be seen as a solitary activity. It may sound crazy to the average person on the street but it’s all natural for the net addicted blogger, as this post from The Dresden Dolls Diary explains.

Over guacamole and beer and wine, I popped open my Mac on the table and he plugged his headphones in. I played him Necessary Evil first. While he listened, I typed him a note on a blank screen, telling him that I had tried to keep the song off the record, and he answered via typing back. From that point on, realizing that communicating via typing was far more comfortable for both of us, we conducted the next two and a half hours of our date without speaking. We traded headphones back and forth and typed and ordered beer and wine and more food as the hours wore on. The waitress thought we were crazy.

I’ve experience this type of surfing long before it was given a name. Years ago, when I was hosting my weekly LAN parties, most of us talk to each other via ICQ instead of using our voice, even though we were all in the same room. I remember my friend Mick and his then girlfriend who lived with him. They both have computers in the living room and you think they never talk to each other because each was always at their computer. In reality, they were talking via instant messaging. When it came time to go to bed, they IM each other asking “You want to go to bed now?”

Netaholics have gotten so use to instant messaging for communication that it now feels more natural than talking! Now that notebooks are outselling desktop, these infomaniacs has taken their habits to the local coffee shops and diners. How far off is the day when we’ll see a Starbucks filled with people talking to each other on their laptops?

The term couple-surfing was coined by bloggers, whom we all know are the most net addicted infomaniacs in the world. Many bloggers communicate with each others via their blogs only. People’s relationships are often the subject of their blogs and they would often say things in there that they wouldn’t tell a person in their face. Most of this blogger’s friends found out the marriage was off long before the non-netaholic groom did.

Now the ultimate question; is this the future? Are we now so wired and connected to our technologies that we can’t even talk anymore? I can understand that it can be difficult to commutate things like images, sounds and URLs through speech, but do you really have to type “Can you please pass the ketchup?”