Back in the 90’s, marketing consultant Faith Popcorn popularized the word cocooning to describe the movement of people socializing less, thus spending more leisure time at home in preference of mixing with the outside world. Cocooning continues to evolve.
Basically there are four variations of cocooning. The first being socialized cocoons where people retreat into the privacy/comfort of their homes to socialize with select friends. Thanks to Internet access, individuals can find all the products they need for a stay-at-home lifestyle at CocoonZone.com, as well as order online all their food and groceries – they rarely have to leave their homes. Next e-cocooning evolved for those that pursued “work-at-home” options. The third type of cocoon, the armored cocoon is when an individual establishes a barrier to protect themselves from external threats. Their home becomes a fortress. The fourth type, labeled the wandering cocoon, is where people bring the comfort and coziness of their home cocoon to their cars or minivans.
The wandering cocoon is morphing thanks to technology. People are now moving around in their own mobile wireless world. I call this “Cocooning 2.0.” Mobile devices and the advent of social media (e.g., Twitter, Foursquare, Loopt, etc.) now allow people to invite others into their mobile cocoon. On the other hand, based on personal observation, there appears to be an amazing degree of insulation associated with “Cocooning 2.0.” Just sit back in a Starbucks or a Cosi and witness. Everyone has their laptops fired up, their mobile devices out on the table and their ears plugged. To me, “Cocooning 2.0” defeats the purpose of enjoying a cup of coffee in an environment that was originally designed to promote community.