iPod Zombies( really not important)

Does anyone else notice people with iPods are almost always just staring straight in front of them, never looking around seemingly oblivious to the world around them? Are they being hypnotized?

Even when I see people walking while listening to one I try to say hello or give them a greeting nod and have yet to get a reply even if I am directly in front of the listener. I bet its like the TNG episode where the crew get addicted to that mind game. Or is it a status thing: “Look at me and my iPod aren’t we great, we don’t have to acknowledge you, WE ARE ONE!!”

Things like this shouldn’t bother me but they do. I know that everyone with an iPod isn’t like that and most people probably are not. But it is kind of odd that that most people I encounter with these things are in a trance like state.
I am just speaking from my POV and what I have observed. I’m sure people have seen otherwise

I haven’t noticed that, but maybe it’s because my own iPod makes me oblivious to the world around me.

Some social critic/psychologist came up with a term for this back in the 70’s.
He called it Walkman Autism. It needs to be updated.

Annoying, to be sure, but more suited to MPSIMS than the Pit. I’ll move it over for you.

Hell, I’m always oblivious to what’s going on around me. The trendy white headphones just give me a better excuse for blowing people off.

So, they’re listening to music and they’re not shucking and jiving or singing or anything? That really is weird. (I have a hard time wearing headphones because of all the singing. Oh well.)

It gets worse if I’m tired, but I have to admit to being guilty of zoning out as soon as I’ve got my iPod on. It’s not a conscious effort to blow people off/ignore the unwashed masses without nifty white headphones, I just seem to pay more attention to the music than what’s going on around me. I will admit I scared even myself a couple of months ago when a co-worker got on the bus one stop after I did and I was already so deep into the “iPod trance” that I honestly did not notice her sitting down next to me. I got some well-deserved ribbing for that one, and since then I’ve made more of an effort to retain at least some awareness of my surroundings.

Are you using the term iPod in the generic sense of portable digital media player, or is there something specific about the Apple-branded version that causes zombification?

It’s because we’re paying attention to something. You don’t say “Oh my god! That guy with the book hasn’t done anything but stare straight ahead at the words he’s reading!”, do you? Or maybe you do, but you shouldn’t.

Um, headphones?


Well, I gotta tell you.

I have an iPod, and it is what helped me keep my sanity at work some times. I put on the headphones to not be required to make conversation for a while. Not that my coworkers were terrible people, but sometimes I wasn’t in the mood. So yeah, I suppose that these people are using their music to have their own little world. I mean, really, when you are taking the subway to work, do you really want to be social? The more you can do to extricate yourself from it the better, IMO

The secret ingredient is Steve Job’s Reality Distortion Field; the iPod is the Macintologists’ answer to the eMeter. Don’t waste your time with the Arcos, Nomad, or other squirrely substitutes. Stay in-tech and on-ethics with 100% SPJ tech! :smiley:

Um, direct eye contact and moving lips is usually a dead giveaway that someone is speaking to you.

I guess it’s not iPod users in general, hell I want one myself but can’t afford it. It’s what I call the Hipsterpods. The twenty-somethings dressed in the newest fashions that think the iPod is another status symbol. It’s somewhat disturbing to me to see people that look like they just stepped out of the commercial. I mean you can almost see the tan lines on these people from when they used to be silhouettes.

And not responding is usually a dead giveaway that they don’t want to talk to you.

I don’t have a portable digital media playback device. I have a plain old discman, with a radio tuner. But it serves the same purpose - commuting, walking down the street, sitting on a bench and staring into the middle distance - I don’t like talking to strangers, I don’t like forced small talk or even faux-friendly greetings. So the music serves as a barrier between me and you. If I don’t hear you, I don’t feel obligated to pretend that I care that you’re talking to me.

Nitpick: That is a digital media playback device.

Amen. It’s not as if you’re in the middle of a conversation with someone and they suddenly start ignoring you. You don’t know them, you’re just passing them on the street.

Why do you want to even interact with someone? You exist in your world, they in theirs. Just let it be.

Two things:

  1. Not everyone wearing earbuds is listening to music. Probably more than half the time I use an mp3 player in public, I’m listening to radio dramas or audiobooks.

  2. When I am listening to music in a public place, I’m self-conscious enough that I don’t dance in my seat/do percussion on my knees/hum, whistle, or sing along. I look askance at people who do. “Woo! Look at me! I’m a one man party!

If someone tries to engage me in conversation, I’ll remove one plug and see what they’re after. It had better be something substantially important that they couldn’t easily ask someone else. I don’t mind giving directions or whatever if I’m the only friendly face around, but people who just want to chit-chat drive me up the f-ing wall. Hello, I am actively insulating myself from you. Bugger off. Do not ask me what I’m listening to. Do not comment on the weather. Do not ask me about what model player I have, I will not show it to you or even truthfully tell you what it is – to you, it’s an off-brand cassette player that plays at the wrong speed, because I don’t know you and have no idea what your intentions are, and even if you’re a genuinely interested gadget-guy, it’s a fecking boring topic of conversation, and I’d like to avoid it.

That being said, I don’t mind engaging in non-intrusive non-verbal communication with my fellow travellers, so I’m probably not a full-fledged “zombie.”

Some of us just have less control over our toe-tapping, swaying, singing, etc. while listening to music. Heck, I’m sitting here at my computer with a song playing in my head (The Killers - “On Top”), swaying along to it. It’s practically involuntary for some of us, is all I’m saying.

I wear my headphones on public transport specifically so I can zone out and not have to deal with the mass of annoying people around me (and if there’s a mass of people around me, it’s annoying by default. I picked up a major dislike of crowds from my dad from a fairly young age.) I don’t zone out in places where I need to be paying attention but by gods if I am just sitting/standing on the T, I am damn happy to have my own private bubble of space delineated by those headphones. And people STILL break through the zoned out zombie stare and lack of audibility to talk to me. Because I’m polite, I stop what I’m listening to and talk back, most of the time.

Walkman autism? Sign me up.