The Zombie effect: people staring silently into their computers in WiFi Café

After reading anne's post about the fact that a local Seattle coffeehouse has shut down its free wi-fi on Saturdays and Sundays because "it seems that nobody talks to each other any more", I stumbled across another paper in the Financial Times about it: Wake up and smell the coffee, wi-fi users By Simon London.

Coffee shops across the US are finding that offering free wireless internet access to customers is leaving a bitter taste. “There are times when 90 per cent of the people in here are surfing the internet,” says Jen Strongin, co-owner of the Victrola Coffee & Art cafe in Seattle. “It has really changed the atmosphere.”

Students of coffee-house culture call it the “zombie effect” people staring silently into their computers, oblivious to those around them.

Zombies are not only anti-social but also bad business. A single laptop user can take up a whole table. It is not unusual for web surfers to eke out a single cup of coffee for hours. (...) Her solution is simple: from now on the wi-fi network will be turned off at weekends, the Victrola's busiest days. (...) Armando, manger of the Konditorei café in Portola Valley, advises: “Wi-fi etiquette? Keep using it until we kick you out.”

That's how life goes...