To get to my office, I have a round trip two-hour commute on the NYC subway each day (come see me on the F train). That means I’m free from the net during that time. It’s like taking a hike in the connection wilderness. And I love it.
Could one of New York City’s advantages be the un-networked subway? Those regular gaps when we have freedom from emails, status updates, the little unimportant interruptions that dot our days. But that’s going to end when the subway gets WiFi.
Isn’t there a safety advantage to wiring the subway? OK, sure. But I don’t think any advantage like that is even close to the cost of doing it, both in economic and social terms. Soon enough there will be tweets on how bad the car smells and where the HPOA are (I swear I didn’t know that term before I saw this.
Will subway service improve as a result? The MTA has what is best described as an “attitude problem” when it comes to making improvements. Passengers with communication technology have an opportunity to help improve the subway, or at least join chats and give feedback while riding. Some of these activities could pressure the MTA to make improvements, though probably more so subway lines that have more than average numbers of smartphone users. And if people sit in cafes all day for free WiFi, what will they do in subway cars?
Until then, I usually read on the subway. I read books made of paper, ink and glue. I’ve been known to write there as well. On paper with a pen. Those are both activities I don’t do much anymore above ground. But for clarity, a subway ride can be worth a day of connectivity.
[About the title, there's a reference there to this Paul Graham essay:
The Acceleration of Addictiveness.