This social isolation is another likely outcome of iPod use, according to Areni, a professor at the University of Sydney who studies environmental psychology, music, and cognition. “Have you ever tried saying ‘hello’ to somebody listening to an iPod? If I see the white or black wires sticking out of somebody’s ears, I don’t even bother, even if it’s a friend. Again, in crowded public spaces, this may be a desirable outcome.”
I found this article fairly interesting. I’d be interested in seeing the psychological effects of wearing an iPod in public. I am one of those folks who wears mine constantly when I’m out and about on my own. I leave my earbuds in sometimes even if the iPod isn’t on. This is mostly due to the fact that I live downtown and 95% of contact with other folks on the street is other people asking me for spare change or directions. It does grow the perceived bubble of my personal space and makes vying my way through crowds more pleasant. I also like the choice of deciding with whom I’ll interact. If I see a friend or enter a business, I’ll take my earbuds out. If someone I don’t know speaks to me on the street, I have the choice of talking to them or pretending not to hear them.
Given a choice between the isolationism of iPods or the fuck-you-all-I’m-talking-here cell phone behaviors, I’m definitely feeling like the isolationism trend is the better of the two.