New Mobile World

The introduction of modern day mobile phones and mobile communication has revolutionized our everyday lives. It has completely changed the technologically proficient’s outlook on interaction with like minded individuals. This quote from “Social Implications of Mobile Telephony: The Rise of Personal Communication Society” by Scott W. CampbellYong Jin Park further explains this:

“McLuhan argued that characteristics of communication technologies shape cognition and social organization. Accordingly, the development of print moved society into a visual age, while television, radio, and film helped move us into a mass age. This line of reasoning is succinctly captured by McLuhan’s (in)famous assertion that ‘The medium is the message’.”

I completely agree with this assertion. This new medium that has become so prevalent has definitely reshaped cognition and social organization. With the introduction of this technology that allows people so many to communicate on a completely different level people are interacting quite differently than they would in the not so distant past. Instead of vocal conversations, people can now communicate quickly and easily anywhere they go through text messaging. Some of the uses of this are further described in this quote again from “Social Implications of Mobile Telephony: The Rise of Personal Communication Society” by Scott W. CampbellYong Jin Park:

“Planning social activities is a priority for many teens and young adults, and the ‘real-time’ nature of mobile communication plays a vital role in this process. Thus, if a social gathering changes, it is easy to get word out. If a party is boring, those who arrive first can send a message to others and alternative plans can be developed. Privacy is an important nuance to these novel forms of connection and coordination. Much of what young people have to say to one another can now more easily be said (or thumbed) ‘under the radar’ of their parental observation. Thus, the mobile phone not only lowers the threshold for interaction among young people, it does so in a way that offers increased privacy and autonomy from their parents.”

Ignoring the fact that mobile phones are now making it easier for teens to do things their not supposed to without their parents knowing, the quote “mobile phones lower the threshold for interaction” is particularly important. Mobile phones allow a method of communication easy enough that people will now communicate things they thought were too unimportant to actually go out of their way to call or meet someone to talk about. While this may seem trivial it opens up a whole new section of social interaction strengthening ties between people that may not have existed without this technology.

However, some people may find themselves “constrained” with this technology so widely available. Again, we can take a quote from “Social Implications of Mobile Telephony: The Rise of Personal Communication Society” by Scott W. CampbellYong Jin Park to explain such a case:

“In fact, some are concerned that social networks can even become too personalized to the extent that there is a ‘telecocooning’ effect (Habuchi 2005). Communal spaces are also personalized through use of the technology, which can lead to its own form of ‘cocooning’ as individuals shut themselves off from copresent others while plugged into their mobile devices  (Ito et al. forthcoming).”

This “telecooning” effect is becoming more and more prevalent, with people so focused on their cell phones that they almost forget the real world around them. In the world today it is extremely common to see a family sitting down for dinner with everyone on their cell phones, or friends out together with individuals focused on whoever happens to be texting them opposed to the real person standing beside them they can legitimately interact with. While some may not view this as an issue and just “a changing of the times” some people find this behaviour unacceptable and a detriment to future social interactions.

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