Sitting here in Bangkok yesterday, having a coffee in a café, surrounded by schoolkids who were post-school giddy - laughing, joking, punching each other (the boys), giggling behind their hands in conclaves (the girls) and of course brandishing, looking at, talking into and flourishing their mobile phones. In short, a normal contemporary urban scene - except for one thing. There sitting at a table, on his own, was a kid.......... reading a book!
It was only when I saw this kid reading that I realised what a rare sight it is these days to see someone in a café reading. Not just kids - anyone. The mobile phone is the contemporary accompaniment-du-jour to a coffee break, popping a book in your bag to have with you for commuting, or coffee break purposes has gone the way of the fax machine. Upon sitting down in a café most people these days take their phone out of their bag or pocket, and start the prodding and poking. It's funny how subtly things can change around you and you don't even notice it.
The classical pianist Jeremy Denk has a very interesting post concerning another change in our habits - our greater love of the content delivery systems we use over the actual content itself. You can see it here