Interacting Through Technology and Mobility
Over time technology has advanced, from drawing pictures and symbols on cave walls to typing different symbols and taking pictures on our cell phones, the way we communicate has changed but what we do is almost the same.
As humans one of the things we have always done and will always do is communicate. Originally this was done on cave walls, papyrus, leaves, or anything else that could have been used as a scroll or paper. According to Gerard Goggin (2012, p.104) scrolls “encouraged intensive reading habits…often read aloud, and in groups”, and can be seen as a way of communicating. From there we moved onto the invention of the telegraph in 1790 by the Chappe brothers (Goggin p. 19). This was a new way of communicating with one another and a faster way of sending messages, even to places further away then we could normally send messages to. From there upgrade to the telephone and soon after in 1983 the first hand held mobile phone was invented by Motorola. (Farman, p. 17) We now have these mobile phones that are computers in the palms of our hands. They hold so many different ways of communicating, through emailing, calling, texting, instant messaging, and the various uses of social media. In history we have gone from drawing symbols on walls to communicate, to calling and doing it verbally, to sending a message through computer, to typing similar symbols in a message. These advances in technology have made it easier to interact with people in distant areas. (Kakihara & Sorensen, 2001, p.35)
Through what Masao Kakihara and Carsten Sorensen call “Contextual Mobility” we can see the how humans have adapted to the changing technology and not always in the best way. They also explain mobility through Spatial Mobility and Temporal Mobility. Spatial Mobility is explained as the mobility or movement of objects, symbols and of “space itself”. Temporal Mobility is the inventions made to improve existing products to help make our lives easier. (Kakihara & Sorensen, 2001, p.33-34) We see temporal mobility in action every day, with every new iPhone upgrade, new television and every other most recent electronic that is advertised. Through these different forms of mobility we also see the ways of human interaction. With technology changing the way we all as humans communicate does too.
People say that we are always dependent on these ways of communication, but it seems that we have just grown with them and used them how they are intended to. Through our phones we sometimes communicate in person less but can communicate with many more people at the same time. We are also accused of doing less with ourselves because of these advances in mobile technologies. For example our generation is said to “read less”. We play more video games, watch more television, or surf more of the web. But in a way don’t we read more but just in different ways? According to Gerard Goggin & Caroline Hamilton’s Reading After the Phone, “More than ever before, books are machines for thinking and mobile media are presently being celebrated, fetishized, and reviled for their capacity to support and re-imagine the book”. (Goggin & Hamilton, 2012, p. 115) In the average day a teen can read hundreds of tweets, Facebook posts, articles shared by email, advertisements and texts. Goggin and Hamilton say “the reality that, despite their ubiquity in our daily lives, books will always remain, in comparison to street signs or shopping list, the most marginal of our reading and writing acts” (p. 106). And this is not necessarily a bad thing, we are still reading, you are currently reading this. We have really in a way re-imagined the book and found different machines for thinking. A tweet you read can make you think, an opinionated Facebook post can do the exact same thing, as you read and respond to texts and emails one can only hope you will think while reading them. Goggin and Hamilton seem to be correct when they say that phones are just upgraded versions of scrolls.
In this video (start at 3:39) John Green and Craig Ferguson talk about people reading less and how John believes that this is not the case at all.
In conclusion the way we use technology has grown more mobile, we see it every day and use it every day. Through different forms of mobility we can see how these advances effect how we all communicate to one another. We really have not changed our ways of communication, using symbols and pictures to form words, but the devices we use to get those messages and stories across have changed drastically.
Apple iPhone Generations & Time Line. Retrieved February 9, 2014, from URL (http://gizlogy.com/apple-iphone-generations-time-line/)
John Green on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Retrieved February 9, 2014, from URL (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwjjWhLxf-o)
Goggin, G. and Hamilton, C. (2012). “Reading After the Phone: E-reader and mobile media,” in N. Arceneaux & A. Kavoori (Eds), The Mobile Media Reader. New York: Peter Lang.
Goggin, Gerard. (2006). Cell Phone Culture: Mobile technology in everyday life. London: Routledge. Chapter 2.
Kakihara, M. and Sorenson, C. (December, 2001). Expanding the ‘Mobility’ Concept. Volume 22 (No.3).