Watching your neighbors’ screen is very interesting. Please, understand me: I don’t want to know what people are writing or whom, but just make an idea about surfers’ attitudes and habits. It can be very useful as Google and its friends teaches!
So last summer, when I was in the hostel’s bar or in an Internet cafe’ around China, I watched at people close to me while surfing the web, just to understand what the habits of a 20/30 years old western traveler are.
First consideration: today, much more than in the last three years, almost every small hotel and hostel have 2 or more Internet desks and that most of the guests were spending time surfing the web while not visiting the city. Obviously China is China while in Cameroon maybe it does not happen. Still, I had the strong impression that this kind of service is now considered a sort of “standard facility” that a also a small resort has to offer to its clients.
Second: some traditional services, like email, are still very much used. So communication gets along with travel services, like flight reservation and hostel booking. This is clear as I’ve been in touch with backpackers who were visiting the country reserving everything like planes, trains or buses, hostel in Beijing so as guest houses in Xi’an, using the Net.
But the most important discovery and biggest surprise to me was to see that a VERY large number of travelers were continuously checking another website, that today it seems to me to be getting more and more attention on the web: I’m talking about FACEBOOK, the latest web phenomenon. People from Germany, France, US, Australia and New Zealand, Spain and Holland were checking Facebook in the morning, after breakfast.
Why? As I told you I don’t want to be unfair and I don’t watch details of other people’s surfing so I can only make suppositions: maybe they wanted to get in touch with friends, see where other people were in the same moment, share images and thoughts, feel the sense of the group even if being far from any. Am I right? If this summer you did the same or you saw the same as I did, please write your comments so as we can learn more from this story.