For many decades and generations, the use of mobile technologies has had a major influenced on our social lives and interactions as humans. With the rapid growth of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT’s), over the time it has changed the way we as humans communicate go about our everyday lives. In the eyes of many, mobility is usually interpreted as physical or human geographical movement. However, Masao Kakihara and Carsten Sorensen argue that mobility can also be related to human interaction with one another in their social lives (Kakihara & Sorensen, pg. 33). Kakihara and Sorensen argue that concept of mobility can be looked at in three distinct dimensions of human interaction: spatial, temporal, and contextual mobility (Kakihara & Sorensen, pg. 33).
In conclusion, I believe that Kakihara and Sorenson make a great argument in “Expanding the ‘Mobility’ Concept” on how mobility can have a influnece on our social lives and how we interact with one another. This influence will continue bto become much more prominent with the continued growth and development of these ICT’s. ICT’s will forever influence they way we move, interact, and socialize.
As ICT’s have developed over the years, they have been built to become more mobile as objects. Over time we humans have desveloped ICT’s that are designed for movement. This can be traced back to the early Third Millenium BC, when writing began to shift to papyrus (Farman, pg. 11). Another example of this can be found with the invention of the first working mechanical telegraph by the Chappe brothers in 1790 (Goggin, pg. 19). This invention would lead to the first telegraph being sent in 1794 (Goggin, pg. 19). Kakihara & Sorenson argue that spatial mobility can be broken down into three aspects which include the mobility of objects, symbols, and space (Kakihara & Sorenson, pg. 33). Since humans began writing on papyrus and the invention of the telegraph, there has always been an emphasis placed on the mobility of these ICT’s that we use. In today’s age of technology we have continued to manufacture wireless and smaller mobile devices that can better assist us in our nomadic lifestyles.
Kakihara and Sorenson provide their example of the mobility of objects by referring to the Sony Walkman. “It is designed for movement – for mobility, for people who are always out and about, for traveling light” (Kakihara & Sorenson, pg. 34). Today millions of people around the world are able to be interconnected through ICT’s and the overall mobility of space. One can make the argument that this idea of the mobility of space first began in 1910 when ten million telephones were in use worldwide (Goggin, pg. 21). This was probably the first network of ICT’s that created a “community.” Today, as Kakihara and Sorenson argue, we are globally connected through a a network of computers (Kakihara & Sorenson, pg. 34). This has changed our interaction and social lives as humans immensely. Temporal mobility refers to how ICT’s influence the time and pace of our work. Kakihara and Sorenson cite S.R. Barley who distinguishes temporal mobility into two aspects: structural and interpretive (Kakihara & Sorenson, pg. 34). “Structural attributes are measured by largely objectified parameters, among which sequence, duration, temporal location and rates of recurrence are particularly important” (Kakihara & Sorenson, pg. 34). New technologies can force changes in our time and how we structure it. This can be found in the establishment of time-zones in 1984 (Farman, pg. 13). Interpretive refers to how long a task should take. Because of all the advancements we have made in technology today, we as humans expect things to get done rather swiftly. Before there were telephones or computers, messages could take a long time to reach their destination depending upon the distance. Now we are able to send emails and text messages over long distances. This has had a major influence in how we interpret time and the structure of time.
Kakihara and Sorenson finally argue the aspect of contextual mobility. “In addition to spatiality and temporality, contextuality in which the action occurs is of equal importance in organizing human interaction” (Kakihara & Sorenson, pg. 35). They also argue that contextual mobility can be characterized into two dimensions: unobstrusive vs. obstrusive and ephemeral vs. persistent. In the early 1990’s, text messaging would become widely adopted (Goggin, pg. 33). I believe that the introduction of text messaging and emails gave birth to the argument of unobstrusive vs. obstrusive. In today’s culture, many people would rather communicate through text message or email if it is not a serious matter. For example, most people would rather text a friend “Good Morning,” rather than calling that friend to simply say that. This can also point back to interpretive mobility. How we interpret our time can also effect the context in which we use these mobile devices. This has a huge influence on how we interact with one another socially. Contextual mobility can also vary in different cultures. Kakihara and Sorenson argue that conformity of contextual aspects is very important in face-to-face interaction. But with the advancement of these ICT applications, contextual constraints can be removed. For example, on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, people from various different cultures and backgrounds are able to interact with each other free from these contextual constraints.
Farman, Jason. (2012). “Historicizing Mobile Media: Locating Transformations of Embodied Space,” in N. Arceneaux & A. Kavoori (Eds), The Mobile Media Reader. New York: Peter Lang. P. 9-22.
Goggin, Gerard. (2006). Cell Phone Culture: Mobile technology in everyday life. London: Rutledge. Chapter 2, 19-40
Kakihara, M. and C. Sorenson (2001): Expanding the ‘Mobility’ Concept. SIGGROUP Bulletin, volume 22 number 3 pp. 33 – 36.
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