Throughout the years we have seen a transformation in the way we work, socialize, and live our everyday lives. While our Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) improve, our daily lives become more and more mobilized by our rigorous use of ICTs. In the paper, “Expanding the ‘mobility’ Concept,” Kakihara and Sorensen take the notion of mobility, which has played a big part of the transformation within our social lives and mobilizing our lifestyles, and argue that “being mobile” is not how fast and how much human beings can travel, but the interactions carried out among each other” (Kakira and Sorensen, 33). Kakihara and Sorensen expand on spatial, temporal and contextual mobility- three distinct dimensions of human interaction, to better understand the impact that technologies have had in our everyday interactions.
We have seen ICTs advance significantly throughout the years. One of the first communication inventions was the telegraph, a way of transmitting messages from distance through a wire. In 1790, we experienced the first working mechanical telegraph invented by the Chappe brothers (Goggin, pg. 19), four years later, in 1794, the first telegraph was sent (Goggin, Pg19). The telegraph can be compared to Kakihara and Sorensen’s concept of mobility of objects within the global satellite television networks and the internet. It has become easier and more accessible for human beings to receive news on a daily basis through our global satellite television which broadcasts visual images and sound enabling billions of people to receive news almost simultaneously. In addition, the telegraph was limited by long wait times. The subsequent discovery of the internet has made it easier to send information, sound, and images around the world in an instant (Kakihara and Sorensen, 2001, 34). The continuous change within our human interaction, objects, symbols, and images is the result of spatial mobilization in human interaction.
After the telegraph and other inventions in between, came the telephone in 1877 (Goggin, pg. 20). The invention of the telephone made it easier to receive verbal messages, but as human beings, we are eager to come up with new technology, and in 1910 the first mobile telephone was used in a car (Farman, pg. 15). As new technology develops we have the ability to get things done faster and maintain constant communication with others. As Kakihara and Sorensen explain, “the increasing temporal mobilization of human interaction is simultaneously creating new opportunities and constraints for the ecology of social life”(Kakihara and Sorensen, 2001, 35). As the years past, more and more people had access to telephone subscriptions. By 1950, there were seventy five million subscribers(Goggin, pg. 21), impacting the temporal dimension of human interaction, as well as mobilizing it. By the 1990s teenagers were introduced to texting and it has since taken off and evolved into numerous forms (Baron 2008, hard af serstad 2005, Ling 2005b, 2007b). Due to the new technology introduced into our social lives, polychronicity – the ability to do multiple things at once – is perpetually increasing. Moreover, Kakihara and Sorensen explain that, “it is obvious that by using your email or other asynchronous ICT applications, people become able to deal with multiple tasks simultaneously. It is no longer necessary to share the same time period exclusively with a particular person or group” (Kakihara and Sorensen, 2001, 35). Therefore, the temporal mobilization of human interaction cannot be defined with a ‘clock time’ perspective, but rather mobilized into multiple temporal modes such as monochronicity and polychronicity.
The video above shows how much human interaction has gone cyber and the difference it has made in real world human interaction. In 2002, we start to see the difference in social interaction due to a new technology known as social media (Farman, pg. 19). Social media give us the ability to add the mobility in contextual concept of human interaction as seen through the eyes of Kakira and Sorensen. The internet and social media have connected people on the other side of the world and have created fewer contextual restraints interacting with one another. Kakira and Sorensen also explain that social media and computer mediated communication can help those who have weak social relationships better their face-to-face interactions. In reality however, social media has created the exact opposite problem. In the video, it is evident how the use of social media has affected face-to-face interaction in a negative way. For example, the use of Facebook can help you keep in touch with people, employers, and keep up with entertainment and world news, but many people worry more about how many friends they have on Facebook, rather than building true, real life, relationships. The use of internet and social media are all advantageous if used the correct way. We now have access to a cell phone that lets us get in contact with others in an instant, use a camera, check your e-mail, and use the internet, among many others. Due to the accessibility of information and resources we have an extension of communication possibilities beyond time and space.
Throughout the years, we have seen many new technologies that have helped the spatial, temporal, and contextual mobility of human interaction. We have gone from the telegraph and long waits for information, to being able to gain knowledge of something from the other side of the world almost simultaneously. As human beings, we always look for faster and better new technologies which leads us to being able to get things done faster, access information simultaneously, but most importantly, we will see the human interaction further mobilize and create an even greater rift in interpersonal communication.
Farman, J. (2012). Historicizing Mobile Media. The Mobile Media Reader, Volume 73, 9-22.
Kakihara, M. and Sorenson, C. (December, 2001). Expanding the ‘Mobility’ Concept. Volume 22 (No.3), 34.
Goggin, G. (2006). Cell Phone Culture: Mobile Technology in Everyday Life. London: Routledge. Capter 2, 19-40.
Ling, R. and Donner, J. (2009). Mobile Communication. Malden, MA: Polity Press. Chapter 1, p. 1-29.
Nicklivingston.(2012, Jan 19). The Hijacking Of The Mind – A Facebook Documentary. Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4UIyTK6Sto
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