I’m back in DeKalb, IL this week visiting a bunch of friends. Two of my dearest friends from graduate school are graciously hosting me and letting me use their WiFi. While I stay in touch with these folks via Facebook and the phone, there is no substitute for sharing a cup of coffee with someone.
IRL, spaces evoke memories. As I sat across from my mentor today, I remembered one of our last coffee dates in which she encouraged me to finish my research, get published, and find a job. The sound of espresso beans grinding and milk steaming cannot be replaced by social media. It just can’t.
But beyond the sense memories, meeting with people works. I also had coffee with my co-author. We’ve been writing an article together and created a private blog in order to share ideas, notes, and sources. We’ve been in a place where we need to sit down and write. However, we couldn’t reach that place until we sat down and hashed it out.
Then again, maybe this is just the way I learn. Perhaps some people do better in a controlled online environment in which they are not surrounded by noises and other distractions?