What is it with Newspapers on a Weekend?

Communication?

I can't put my finger on it but something about the British (i'm not so convinced its just the British now) and Newspapers which I'm observing, which I find interesting. There's something about going to places like coffee shops, bars, pubs and even parks with a Saturday or Sunday paper in hand. Then (usually in couples) sitting in silence reading the paper to themselves. Sometimes if they find something very witty or interesting, they will attract the attention of there partner and read it out aloud. What kills me is sometimes there reading the same paper! So one of them most of opted to buy the same paper instead of waiting a while to swap papers?

What this type of activity is called or does for relationships I don't know but its the opening scene in a new british movie – scenes of a sexual nature. So it got me thinking would the same effect be true if both persons were on a laptop or some kind of read/write device? For example if both couples were on a crackberry (blackberry) would that be radically different and why? How about if they were reading a ebook type device? What is the effect of this newspaper reading too? I've identified a lot of couples do this activity, so it can't be all that bad, can it? Maybe you can tell people are a couple by them reading silently to themselves in the park? Or maybe there's something extra low level going on like in this picture. In the movie, the guy actually angles his newspaper and body in a way to peer a look at some other woman sitting reading a book.

I was talking to Nicole about this today over dinner and she suggested that maybe that's ME time for most couples? But a strange way to have Me time, I would say. When I have Me time, I usually need to be shut away from everyone or something like that. Maybe its like a less intense version of Me time? I could buy that maybe. Hey, maybe me and Nicole were looking at this the wrong way? Maybe this is actually shared time?

There's a ton of research which I've yet to find about how the digital world effects notions of a modern relationship, but its certainly something I'm finding interesting.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.