Social Interaction is key to today’s mobile technologies. The nature of human beings is to be social. If you go anywhere today you will see people using mobile phones for social interaction. They are obsessed with their cell phones, and other people’s business. This description that follows, is from the Kickstarter.com website, “Who we are” page, “We’re a team of 78 people based in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Half of us work on the product (designing and coding), and the other half work with the community. We love what we do, and who we do it with” (retrieved from kickstarter.com). On one hand, Rich Ling and Jonathan Donner write about, Debates surrounding mobile communication in chapter 5 of their book titled, “Mobile Communication.” In the other hand, Gerard Goggin gives the descriptive name to his chapter 3, Cool phones: Nokia, networks, and identity in his book titled “Cell Phone Culture: Mobile technology in everyday life.” While examining these authors to reveal social interaction techniques, the “power relations” from Ling and Donner, and the “Cool culture” from Goggin are embodied in Kickstarter.
Ling and Donner write about power relations and who exercises the power, sometimes it can be perceived as either good or a bad source of power. These two descriptive issues they describe become separate from each other. The authors write some examples about the positive aspects of mobile communications, but the overriding feeling is that they concentrated on the negative aspects of mobile communications. One of the positive examples they give is in the Philippines, when President Estrada was ousted in 2001. Interesting how they note, the use of “SMS being sent out was both a form of group coordination and also a call to arms” (Ling, Donner, 2009, p.115). Here they are presenting the power of the people and how social interaction dynamics can organize people against the dictator of a government. Then they mention how they did 53 studies of protest movements. The social interaction dynamics of these protest groups that were successful had a “unified focus and ideology.” In contrast, the use of phones in public places, here they present the mobile as a disruptive notion. In covering several issues, Ling and Donner continue to examine social interaction as a negative interaction, and explain how information is exchanged and about the growing trend of citizen journalism. They also note the power struggle discourse, social disruption and how the mobile phone has a bad side. One example in their chapter, argues that people are capable of committing wicked behavior; Ling and Donner reason that the unwanted consequence of mobile phones is that they can be used to detonate bombs.
The success of the untraditional ventures of crowdfunding that can be found on Kickstarter is a major form of social interaction. This company is shaping societal interaction that most people will either enjoy by donating to a project as funders, or creating a project know as founders, “individuals raising crowdfunding for a central, social, or for-profit venture” (Mollick, 2013). This hyperlink below is of Seth Godin’s Kickstarter project “The ICARUS DECEPTION,” is an example of what Seth calls the “connection economy”. Seth’s project exceeded his fund raising campaign by using social interaction with his tribe. “Within three hours of launching his project, Seth already met his goal of $40,000. His project has now been successfully funded for $287,342, over 7x his goal.” (Pi, Jeanne, 2012) It is worth noting that Seth is teaching people not to use traditional publishing avenues, but to use new methods of getting their content to the readers.
Video credit: Seth Godin on Kickstarter and the Value of an Author Platform
Gerard Goggin concentrates on two case studies; first he examines Nokia and then second he examines Vodofone. Goggin admits that his biggest concentration was on how Nokia was instrumental in developing mobile phone culture. For example, “Nokia decisively contributed to the emergence of cell phone culture.” (Ling, 2009. P.45) He tells the story of Finnish design, and how Nokia embraced the user. In the end of Goggin’s summation, he admits that his treatment of Nokia and Vodafone are from during the mid to late 1980’s to the late 1990’s, which he presents that the cell phone culture is shifting once again. Goggin argues that Nokia designed their cell phones using a “creation of image”, through practices of marketing. Goggin also mentions Jing Wang’s study on the way that music is changing mobile culture. He uses the term “cool culture” to describe the way cell phones are depicted in advertising. It is the notion of pushing fashion, color swatches, and technological features of the changing cell phone as a status symbol. The main players in the mobile arena are going after their target demographics, just like Nokia designed “for a consumer with a lifestyle.”
Kickstarter builds communities to raise money, awareness, and allows individuals to pick and choose issues they care about. It gives creative people a fighting chance to raise money for whatever social interaction or for any project they want to be involved in. “That’s why the insights we gain from studying Kickstarter, currently the largest crowdfunding platform, can be very useful” (Pi, Jeanne, July 17, 2012). Kickstarter changes the shape of the discussions about social interaction and identity. In my opinion, regarding debates about mobile technologies, an argument can be made that social interaction and identity are so interdependent, that it feels unnatural to have one without the other. In simple terms, Seth Gobin’s identity effected his social interaction to help get funding from his funders. To support my idea how Kickstarter is shaping social interaction and identity one needs to peruse the mobile app or their website to see for yourself how it is shaping society. Kickstarter is the new “cool culture” for crowdsourcing in 2014. When you can spend a few minutes searching projects on Kickstarter make sure you investigate the projects on social justice and social interaction.
Godin, Seth. (2012) “The ICCARUS DECEPTION,” hyperlink was retrieved from https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/297519465/the-icarus-deception-why-make-art-new-from-seth-go
Goggin, Gerard. (2006). Cell Phone Culture: Mobile technology in everyday life. London: Routledge. Chapter 3, 41-62.
Interview with Dan Blank from wegrowmedia.com and Seth Godin retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvbxAJOmfbU
Kickstarter, “Who we are” Retrieved from https://www.kickstarter.com/team?ref=footer on April 1, 2014
Ling, Rich and Donner, Jonathan. (2009). Mobile Communication. Malden, MA: Polity Press. Chapter 5. P. 107-133
Mollick, Ethan. (2013) The dynamics of crowdfunding: An exploratory study. Journal of Business Venturing Retrieved from http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2088298 peer reviewed article written by professor from Wharton School of Business, U Of P
Pi, J. (2012) The untold story behind Kickstarter stats Retrieved from http://venturebeat.com/2012/07/17/the-untold-story-behind-kickstarter-stats-infographic/ March 31, 2014