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Multi-Tasking, Technology, Thoughts

Facebook Is The New Wheaties Box

This post is part of an occasional series on the facets of ODD or Our Digital Daze.

Trust me, breakfast is not the most important meal of the day. That bromide was originally a PR stunt promoted by Big Cereal back when Postum was sold as perhaps the world’s first Nutraceutical. In my opinion anyway.

But I’m wandering. For most modern families relative importance isn’t the point. Today’s reality is that breakfast is really looking lots different from what it used to be…and this is how we are just starting our day.

As the scene opens we flash to the NY Times where Brad Stone describes today’s ODD substitute for family breakfast with a modern Nuclear Family.

  • Instead of reading the Wheaties box while they slurp their ceral, our kids are checking their Facebook page and texting friends.
  • Let’s not give their parents a pass though, they were up early to check their work e-mails and Twitter accounts.
  • And the family uses phone texting as an in-house inter-com.

Talking to each other? Not.

BF = Before Facebook

BF = Before Facebook

There sure is a lot of activity, but it doesn’t sound like anyone is having much fun; even the kids. So what’s up? Well, remember that line about how the internet was better than TV because it was interactive.

Turns out this is what interactivity feels like; there’s just no such thing as a free breakfast.

On the other hand, at one time there was a free lunch!

The phrase free lunch, in U. S. literature from about 1870 to 1920, refers to a tradition once common in saloons in many places in the United States. These establishments included a “free” lunch, varying from rudimentary to quite elaborate, with the purchase of at least one drink. These free lunches were typically worth far more than the price of a single drink. The saloon-keeper relied on the expectation that most customers would buy more than one drink, and that the practice would build patronage for other times of day.

But I’ve wandered again.

Charlie Chaplin had it right almost 75 years ago in Modern Times. Take a look at this breakfast table. Multi-talking? Now THIS is multi-tasking before they invented a word for it.  (And yes, I said Chaplin made this 75 years ago; we will be discussing Modern Times again in a future post.)

Charlie Chaplin Predicts ODD Breakfast in Modern Times

Charlie Chaplin Foresees An ODD Breakfast in 1936

Don’t look now but ODD is playing at a theater very near to you.



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