Let’s talk about how we internet in Sweden. After all, this is one of the most connected countries in the world. Just off the top of my head, I can tell you this is the home of Bluetooth technology, Spotify, GPS, Pirate Bay and ridiculously delicious pastries.
Not having a phone plan coming here, or any other plan for that matter as it turned out, I borrowed a phone from my good friend, and purchased a pay-as-you-go plan to make phone calls, but kept my U.S. phone to do my internetting with. Besides feeling like a drug dealer (Ha, drug dealer joke!), having multiple phones on me, this solution turned into a pleasant surprise for me and my Instagram addiction.
You see, many times, stores, coffee shops and bars have free wifi. And with today’s tech-magicians figuring out new amazing stuff every day, my phone now remembers these wifi networks. So, what we have here is me walking around Stockholm, being able to do a fairly swift coffee/email check/Instagram upload-pit-stop at several regular coffee shops in the city, all while not having to sign up for a Swedish phone plan. And trust me, there are a plethora of coffee shops here. So this would be where I find the word “neat” very fitting. This shit is neat. I get to keep my U.S. phone, and I don’t have to get into a wrestling match with yet another phone plan carrier. Yes, these companies are just as evil and feed off of arbitrary, catch 22, made up rules whether you are in Sweden or in the U.S.
Now, with all these neat little wifi spots strategically placed across the city, the very connected Swedes should be really on top of what we can do with our internet, right? Let’s use a basic example. Say you’re looking for a cheese shop, a cool bar, or whatever you’re into. One naturally hops onto Yelp, Foursquare or whatever the latest user generated social network might be, to find what you’re looking for. It’s just a few taps away.
Hold it right there. Several times have I found myself in a neighborhood coffee shop, with free wifi—neat—looking for the nearest something-something, and I get nothing form mentioned apps, and I get nothing from Google searches, and the maps are not even up to date! That last one is a big one for me. Well, it was worth a try, I comfort myself on my lonely internet island and get up to continue my aimless walk through the city only to turn the next corner and what the shit do we have here!? If it isn’t exactly a something-something that I was just looking for.
So the lesson here is, walk everywhere. There is fun stuff out there, but businesses just don’t have an internet presence. Whether this is by choice or not, I have no idea. I just find the lack of these types of social consumer networks confusing in this self-proclaimed forward thinking, invention producing, internet age breeding ground.
To round this of I must say, in all fairness, and if the weather permits, Stockholm is a city to be walked in. It’s not that big, it’s very walkable and lots of old buildings to keep you entertained. Just don’t expect an honset answer from the internet if you’re looking for something. I seem destined to a longer stay in the tourist-category than I had anticipated.