Mobile Communications: An Introduction to New Media

Mobile Communications: An Introduction to New Media

Mobile Communications: An Introduction to New Media

Mobile Communications: An Introduction to New Media

Synopsis

The cellphone has achieved a global presence faster than any other form of information and communication technology. A global multi-billion dollar industry, this small, mundane device is now an intrinsic part of our everyday life. This communications medium has had an immense social and cultural impact and continues to evolve. Talking, texting, photographing, videoing, connecting to a network of other media – the cellphone now seems essential. But, beyond the ways in which it has actively restructured our daily lives, the cellphone has changed our sense of ourselves and the way we see the world. The relationship between public and private space, how we view time and space, how we rely on and negotiate social networks – all are increasingly centred on this small piece of technology. Mobile Communications presents a succinct, challenging, and accessible overview of the transformations and challenges presented by this most personal, yet most overlooked, technology.

Excerpt

Do you have a mobile phone? We think you probably do, one way or another. We would also guess that you might use it for many different things in the course of your everyday life—as a telephone certainly, but also as an address book, as a clock or watch, as a camera, or now as a connection to your computer, email and the internet. There will be a range of people you use it to contact (or not), and various strategies you use to take calls—or send texts, or take photos, or receive emails, or search online (or not, in different situations). There are also likely to be a range of social relationships in your life that your mobile phone helps to maintain—or disrupts, or intervenes in, or makes possible, or complicates, or just plain helps to handle.

We can make a guess like this about you because in the last decade, mobile communications have attained a more global presence than almost any other information and communication technology (ICT) to have gone before them, and in a much shorter length of time. Of course, how you respond to the question above will depend on where in the world you find yourself when you are reading it, and in what social and cultural context. It will also depend on how you position yourself—as a designer of mobile phones, as a mobile ‘consumer’, as someone who markets mobile services, or as a researcher or student interested the social relationships that embed mobile technologies in everyday life. We’re guessing, however, that whether you yourself own or use mobile technologies or not, your life will in some way have been affected by the current ubiquity of mobile communications—and that the myriad fascinating issues raised by this transformation in communications will have drawn you to this text.

For these reasons we consider it important to have a volume on mobile communications as the first in a series of new media textbooks. Before 2000, one could argue that there was very little research on mobile communications—but since then, we have seen a significant proliferation of research and literature. In the last few years for example, we have seen a number of edited collections focussed on research: Brown et al. (2001), Katz and Aakhus (2002), Katz (2003), Hamill and Lasen (2005), Ling and Pedersen (2005) and Glotz et al. (2005). The publication dates themselves show how recently this research area has developed. The Ito et al. (2005) collection specifically brings together Japanese research, while others have particular specialisms . . .

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