The era of the mobile phone…

27 Sep

In today’s society, to not have a mobile phone is not only social suicide but prehistoric-you are a technophobe. Media convergence and technology advancements have adapted the mobile phone into a necessary social media hub. It is not just a phone; it is a camera,  a navigator,  a computer and it has  morphed into a compact audience-friendly must. The mobile user is presented with a plethora of media options and applications but how does the individual balance the private use of his/her phone in a public space?

To clarify this space dilemma, one must look at the individual and his/her mobile phone routine. Some individuals use their phone to peruse the lives of others while keeping  their own stories unwraps while others share their entire existence online; from what they ate for breakfast to what they are wearing. Unfortunately, for myself as a university student, my entire life is contained in some format on my mobile phone. My phone is my uni note taker, my personal assistant, my photographer and my therapist when I need a time out. This digital dependancy is the reason why if we lose or break our phone, we become comatose and find it hard to function. So wherever we go, our phone must come too.

My mobile phone  dependency is shared with many Wollongongians. On the free bus to University, all my fellow passengers are mesmerized by their mobile phone, from the primary kids to the grandparents. In a bus setting, we are in a public space but our conversations are contained, are private. Initiating face to face communication with fellow commuters on the bus is random; however we are confident to Facebook or text who is a friend of a friend. Mobile phones provide a built-in confidence builder; a device that protects its user from social humiliation and being rejected face to face.

unplugged-peopel-texting-on-bus-520x438

The use of the mobile phone enables the user to break down barriers, whether they are social, geographic or emotional. They allow its user to record and share live action footage , they can even save your life via internal tracking. Fun fact, a mobile phone in Japanese is called a ‘keitai’ meaning always with you;  I love my keitai.

This unconditional love is currently being  challenged as I am embarking on a untravelled  road of discovery and have deleted my Facebook account, Snapchat and Instagram. I confess I have  became  too attached to these mediums and need to detox from my social media addiction. The first few days have been quite difficult, feeling somewhat naked without my phone. I missed events that had been created and as I was not able to contact people and visa versa; it was as if I was out of the social loop and alone. Eventually, I began to appreciate the  process as I discovered I had all  this time on my hands as I was not relying on my Facebook notification ! This experiment  did show me who and what was important in my life. Who would take the extra step in trying to contact me in via alternate methods such as ‘writing on walls’, ‘poking’ and ‘tagging’. I have been able to engage in the conversations around me instead of segregating myself and dis-including myself like I had done in the past while typing away on my phone.

Halliday, J 2011, ‘London riots: how BlackBerry Messenger played a key role. Police looking on Facebook and Twitter for signs of unrest spreading will have missed out – they should have watched BBM’, theguardian, 8 August, accessed 25th September 2013, < http://www.theguardian.com/media/2011/aug/08/london-riots-facebook-twitter-blackberry>

Gray,D 2013, ‘How to Use Your Mobile Phone in a Public Space’, youtube video, accessed 25th September 2013, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymiKY7EXTBU>

Staff Writer 2013, ‘This brutal take-down shows why it’s a good idea to dump someone by text message’, new.com.au, 26 September, accessed 26th September 2013, <http://www.news.com.au/technology/this-brutal-takedown-shows-why-it8217s-a-good-idea-to-dump-someone-by-text-message/story-e6frfro0-1226727566198>

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