Human connections, artisanal relationships, and Brooklyn real estate

(I will be responding to your Crawford/Metro post. I started blocking out a post, but quickly got deep into the weeds, so I have to do some more pruning and thinking! Ditto for the Munich and other travel posts I still owe you. But I am really glad we’re doing this again! In the meantime, with Optimum Online down again today, here’s a quick post from Anthony Franco’s…)

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This is so weird.

I was musing on a conversation we have occasionally about whether people are losing the ability to connect with each other, and what role social media might or might not play in that (all stuff that indirectly relates to some of what Matthew Crawford writes about.)

And I was thinking to myself: Perhaps this is cyclical. People will come to realize that the kind of featherweight, fungible connections they make on Twitter, Facebook, et al are just too ephemeral, just don’t work for them, just don’t help them build the kind of lives they want. (I haven’t even mentioned Tinder.) People will move back to something deeper, more real, sustained, lasting, face-to-face, and less technologically mediated.

And then I had the darker thought: No, this megatrend is not going to be reversed any time soon: both the social and technological factors driving it are just too powerful. What we might see is a few transient, trendy, twee experiments among, say, Brooklyn hipsters. Sort of like the equivalent of paleo diets, but nothing that is likely to last… think of them as “artisanal relationships.”

And while I was musing on this and trying to block out an essay on it, I came across this in the New York Times Real Estate section: “The Millennium Commune”…

So, are these “co-living” ventures a creative and innovative experiment in solving the twin killer problems of high cost and social isolation… or a new way for landlords to profit on tiny SRO (single-room occupancy) apartments… the wave of the future (I personally doubt it)… something that might actually be attractive to lots of folks starting out in cities on low incomes, say, you?

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