With the widening use of wireless Internet and smartphones, I would go as far as to say that there is no point distinguishing between being online and offline any longer. An illustrative example would be people watching something on the telly and tweeting at the same time about what they are watching – the so-called two-screen viewing. Another example would be a ‘hybrid classroom‘ where learning takes place through an integration of both offline and online activities.
The thing is that I am very familiar with these phenomena as a researcher interested in digital culture; as an individual user of wireless Internet and a smart phone, I don’t do them as much though.
But then yesterday, it struck me that there is something I definitely do: blended shopping! We were in the middle of Covent Garden looking for a parka, and shop after shop, I carried my phone around in my hand because I wanted to check if there were better deals elsewhere and to locate alternative options, as well as to find customer reviews. Yet, I don’t see myself shopping exclusively online anytime soon either because my own sensory assessment of a given product is such an irreducible element of my purchase decision. Quite simply, we were there in the first place – braving the weather! – because we wanted to try them on.
Yup, there is a paper in this. 🙂