Through the hustle and bustle of 18th street, we met in a coffee shop by the name of Cafe Jumping Bean. Pilsen was especially lively this afternoon. All the children were darting in and out of traffic, street vendors hustled their goods, vintage shops had their lights bright and best clothing on display. The “Heart of Chicago” lived up to its name today.
As Alicia and I sat in the confined, warm corners of the cafe, the Mexican hot chocolate in my fingertips began to warm my soul with every sip. We were meeting today for an interview. Alicia is an artist and writer for Read Write Web. Her goal today was to find out how artists use Pinterest for inspiration. I was her bridge, and her reel of questions were to permeate my brain. With her iPhone recording I began to answer the questions with my most awkward stumbles and stutters as always.
3 things I love discussing: Art, race, and our current involvement with technology. My words began to rammer into the digital memory of her device as I discussed everything from using the service to document my favorite materials, keep visual bookmarks of favorite artists, and even as a virtual collaboration board for a future Etsy shop.
I was nervous. Stammers and awkward pauses filled the air. My eyes kept focusing on the multitude of Pilsen residents walking by every second. My mind began to dart. What am I eating for dinner? How is C’ne doing? What drawing am I going to complete tonight? But the conversation began to continue and organically grow. Our shared interests in social networking and the arts took different pathways in the conversation, much like the numerous highways that line the spine of Chicago. We discussed Facebook, Instagram, and the true slight narcissism everyone on a social network shares. Inspiring.
Our conversation wheeled around and back to Pinterest like a round-about, ideas for future projects began to fill my brain, or maybe it was the hot cocoa in my stomach. 45 minutes passed by and the record stops. Our interview is over. Our brains tingling with sensation.
All this talk about social networking makes me question it’s place in this world. It has different meanings for different people. Some find it as an outlet, or a “meeting place” as Alicia called it. Others find it to be a place to connect with only people you know. When we are participants, we create the social network, we are the curators of our lives and social circles. We build our lives and we choose our consumption and creation. If we are aware to it, is where the question lies.
I finish my coffee, give hugs goodbye and exit the cafe. I quickly checked my Twitter feed before heading home.