LOCAL READERS know the social value of crawling between pubs. When you start crawling between clubs, the later hours and louder music mean you normally crawl between the bar and the toilets before hitting the pavement outside to the next club. I spent Saturday evening in loud clubs shouting to friends and looking at a few things that have changed since the first all-night clubbing I did in Ireland on the 17th of March 1995.
Touchscreens. Not only as cash tills essential for casual help unfamiliar with costs of shots but also as music selectors. But the receipts often dissolve in front of you.
Bluetooth Nudges. I expected to get an animated calling card when in Berlin. I haven't had the same thing happen in Ireland but some venue somewhere on the island certainly has active toothing on their premises. The clubs I visited last night could hold 200-350 people. At least 15 Bluetooth identities were visible on my phone in every club. Some of the IDs were phone numbers and others were email addresses. These are outward facing requests for contact.
Twitter. Amazingly, I bumped into two Irish party animals who were connected to Twitter but not on their phones. This seems to validate Twitter's coral reef status. I sent one comment to Twitter yesterday evening and it became the most-commented text message I've ever sent, soliciting comments across 12 time zones. Truly social networking in your pocket.
Condoms and Mints. You could buy only one of those after clubbing items in the toilets when I first arrived in Ireland. Now the trick is to ensure the proper item drops out of the dispenser when you insert your euro coins for its purchase.
Digital DJs. All three late night DJs used pre cached track listings. Years ago they would carry flight cases full of CDs and vinyl. Like Brian Greene, one of the DJs was using a dedicated mixer containing two iPods. You could give the man behind the mixing desk your iPod and make a request using your own music.
Texting. You didn't text in clubs in 1995. The analogue phone network didn't accommodate texting. Today, people will stop in mid-sentence to look at a newly arriving text message. Teenagers learn this new social skill in classrooms.
Photo Sharing. I dropped into three clubs and into the middle of three hen parties. All used cameraphones. Many of the images were upstreaming directly to photo sharing services or via MMS to friends. In 1995 a night's indiscretion was a lot easier to deny. Today's omnipresent cameraphones give wings to embarrassing moments.
I wonder how these technologies will advance before 2020. Personally I believe we are very close to major advances in near field communications and that means I will carry less cash with me since something on me will be able to transfer money to a cash till. I think DJs will accept video mixes from clubbers and during the day Irish pubs will let customers share their videos with friends on 52" screens. I think public venues will use intelligent digital signage at least as the bottom of regular television content. Why not let your customers send text messages to your TV screens? I think urinals will alert you in mid stream when you're over the legal limit for driving.
None of these things is a major leap in technology. Their adoption as mainstream cultural items is a matter for people like my three year old nephew or his one week old sister to decide.
Photo of Caroline and Laura from an earlier crawling session.