by Cherszy (@cherszy)
They’re cheap. They’re convenient. And they make you not worry about the absence or the choppiness of Wi-fi. I guess they pretty much offer you a nice surfing experience for a period of time – the whole day if you wish. Needless to say, they also offer convenience of a computer (with mic and earphones) in case yours broke down or you’re just not in the mood to bring your own laptop.
Well, as for offering you the perfect working ambiance? I don’t think so. Seriously, more often than not, you really cannot do any work in an internet café unless it’s located somewhere (very) remote.
Here are five reasons.
1. It sounds like a marketplace where everyone’s bargaining for almost everything.
Everybody wants to say something when with someone, physically or not.
There are those young boys screaming at their computer screens because they feel so intense over killing their enemies (probably each other’s characters) while playing World of Warcraft or some other popular MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game). There are those teenage girls giggling and chatting excitedly about their celebrity crushes in some corner, hyperventilating dramatically at some point over the hotness of Ian Somelhader or Taylor Lautner. Then, there are those random buzzes and chatter from the rest of the customers who are either inconspicuously laughing at some funny Facebook statuses, tweets, photos, or articles, chatting noisily with their online friends via Google Voice or Skype while surfing, or arguing with the shopkeeper over the price and printing requests.
Imagine how difficult it is to construct a meaningful paragraph in that kind of environment. Don’t argue with me; it’s difficult.
So my suggestion? Don’t go to an internet café if you’re writing a paper or an article. Unless noise is what pushes your brain to think (I doubt, but in case this is you, you should totally tell me), then stay away from the internet café!
2. People are, by nature, nosy.
We will mind other people’s businesses if given the chance- that’s a fact.
Whether you’re reading an article, tweeting, or simply surfing, somebody will definitely look over at what’s on your computer screen, whether it’s that woman in the next cubicle or that young man who happens to pass you by on his way to his rented computer.
So what’s wrong with that, you might ask.
Well, it’s a little awkward knowing that some stranger is monitoring your activity, don’t you think? And when people mind others’ business, they don’t just look and turn away. They really read through whatever you’re staring at (until you stare back at them).
Also, in some cases, there are things that you want to keep personal and confidential, such as those e-mails you send to your significant other or your boss. You don’t want someone to be reading about the secret ingredient of your company’s delicious steak, do you? Unless you want to get fired, then I have no arguments.
So, what would you be doing in an internet café if you wanted to keep something confidential and personal? Well, I’m in a hurry to send out the note and the net at home is as crappy as hell!
And lastly, worst of all, you don’t want someone else to accidentally know your password. Well, you can change it, but still, why all the hassle?
With such an environment, full concentration is absolutely out of the question.
3. The internet’s running extremely smoothly (and there’s no way you can cut it off).
Internet – productivity’s worst enemy.
That’s one great thing about internet cafés, but it’s also one of the worst things about them. It’s what you need, and at the same time, it’s what you don’t need.
There’s always that temptation to type in something in that search engine, log in on Facebook or Twitter, or post a photo on Tumblr while we’re working. Even though I’m writing this post, it doesn’t mean I don’t have other unrelated tabs open somewhere in Google Chrome since I’m on the internet, typing away these words (which reminds me – bad idea, I should have just shut off my Wi-fi and type in Word first before transferring everything to WordPress, so I can increase my productivity).
Point is, the internet is a huge distraction, and internet cafés increase the likeliness of us being torn away from being productive because they have so kindly offered us super fast internet service (which we tend to abuse by surfing more than concentrating on working).
What’s worse than distracting fast internet service? The fact that you can’t shut it off no matter how much you wanted to! I mean, you’re already determined to start on your presentation or your paper, so you tell yourself that you are going to focus, but knowing that Mozilla Firefox’s icon is calling out to you because the internet’s great, it is almost impossible to resist opening it and doing at least a 5-minute surfing.
With Wi-fi, you can totally disconnect your computer from the rest of the online world for a while. At home, you can unplug the LAN cable from your computer, and you will most likely feel productivity surge through you automatically. In an internet café? You can’t do that! It’s not as if you can just go to the shopkeeper and ask him to turn off the internet when everybody else went there for the internet. In short, you’re stuck with being distracted.
4. The shopkeeper almost always plays his/her music loudly (or there’s that chiming bell sound when someone walks in or out of the cybercafé).
Although you’re looking at your work, something you can’t see pulls your attention away.
You may already be trying to focus, but the place just won’t let you continue focusing. Even though the people around you may be quiet, other sounds such as that Rihanna song playing from the shopkeeper’s radio or that chiming bell sound coming from the shop’s door are enough to drive you crazy. Not literally, of course. Crazy, as in distracted crazy.
At some point, it’s even frustrating to hear all those sounds that you just want to put on some headphones and play your own music, but then again, that’s as distracting as the Rihanna song from the radio. Maybe you should purchase those noise-cancelling earphones first before heading to the internet café. Maybe, that’ll help. If not, then I don’t know – I’m sure you’ll think of something to work out that problem.
5. There’s that annoying time bomb on your screen.
You are not really rushing, but with that timer in front you, you tend to become rushed.
Sometimes, a relaxed state can make you more productive, that is, if you’re not cramming. It helps you think well, reflect, and construct more sensible sentences. You look at some far horizon and start to come up with creative ideas for your work. You feel more inspired when you’re not in a hurry.
In an internet café, not only are you not able to find inspiration in such a compacted space, you are pushed to rush because of the presence of the timer in front you which displays how much time you have already used up. Once you see that you have already consumed around 3 hours’ time, you pretty much think you’ve been too absorbed in whatever you’re doing, and it’s probably going to cost you a fortune even if it really won’t. In short, the timer gives you panic attacks (or faster heartbeats) once in a while, which means you really won’t be able to concentrate – I mean, how can you?
So tell me: do you like going to internet cafés? What are your thoughts about the cybercafé experience in terms of working and of not working? Sound off in the comments section!