EXPLORING THE IMPACT OF 3G MOBILE PHONE
                TECHNOLOGY ON GLOBAL COMMUNITIES
                          REPORT ...
Report Summary/Key Findings




                    CHAPTER II: 3G AND COMMUNITY                                          ...
CHAPTER IV: 3G, LOVE AND ROMANCE                                               CHAPTER V: 3G ETIQUETTE

Would like to meet...
CHAPTER VI: 3G AND POST VERBAL COMMUNICATION                                    CHAPTER VII : 3G AND SPEED

Digital democr...
CHAPTER VIII: 3G AND SPACE

Where are you?
How “Where are you?” was the universal mobile-phone question pinpointed
by Sadi...
EXPLORING THE IMPACT OF 3G MOBILE PHONE TECHNOLOGY ON GLOBAL ...
EXPLORING THE IMPACT OF 3G MOBILE PHONE TECHNOLOGY ON GLOBAL ...
EXPLORING THE IMPACT OF 3G MOBILE PHONE TECHNOLOGY ON GLOBAL ...
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EXPLORING THE IMPACT OF 3G MOBILE PHONE TECHNOLOGY ON GLOBAL ...

  1. 1. EXPLORING THE IMPACT OF 3G MOBILE PHONE TECHNOLOGY ON GLOBAL COMMUNITIES REPORT SUMMARY/KEY FINDINGS RICHARD BENSON, MARK RADCLIFF, STEPHEN ARMSTRONG, ROB LEVINE 1
  2. 2. Report Summary/Key Findings CHAPTER II: 3G AND COMMUNITY CHAPTER III: 3G AND SELF Group think Mobile memories Introductory section juxtaposing old model of a mobile-phone exchange Exploration of uses of 3G phones as hard drives for humans: storing between two people with the emerging 3G archetype of a conversation information that helps people manage their worlds and navigate their between anything from three people to thousands of them. Introduction lives day-to-day. Examples include memophotos, pictures taking expressly of 3G-enabled virtual communities such as LunarStorm (Sweden) and Mixi as useful information: bus timetables, transport maps, etc. (Japan) and introducing idea of 3G circles of trust and communication. The video stage Pocket peers How the arrival of videophones has shown people respond to the idea of Explanation of how video and photo features on 3G handsets are enabling being seen in a variety of ways, and a summary of what those strategies users – usually those in their late teens and early 20s – to keep in are, with each given a theatrical tag: The understudy is somebody willing communication with virtual ‘peer panels’ of friends, whom they can to talk on the videophone, but still uncomfortable with the idea; the leading consult remotely on social plans, purchases (hence “peerchasing”) and wo/man embraces the videophone and consciously puts on a performance, other activities. sometimes even “managing” the context – lighting, angles, etc – like a film set; the no-show is phobic about videophone conversations and intends to The instant postcard avoid them at any cost; the natural is a person completely at ease with the The instant postcard is a film clip or photo sent to a friend far away. Unlike idea of the videophone, excited by the extra layers of honesty it can transmit; the old card postcards which took time to move over great distance and could the mask is someone who wants to video-call but is nervous about exposing be read along the way, this variant is immediate and shared by only those his face and sacrificing anonymity. chosen by the sender. It is, therefore, an illustration of how 3G acts as a dissolver of distance, allowing people to “be” everywhere at once. Teleconvergence Mobile phones normalised the idea of a personal electronic device as something to be carried everywhere, a key portal to your personal world that went everywhere its owner did. Digital cameras and MP3 players have benefited from this process, but with the result that – in the words of one tech exec – users can now suffer as a result of their device-laden “pregnant handbag”. That problem, partially created by the success of older-generation mobile phones, is in the process of being resolved by new 3G phones as people understand that one gadget is all they need for everything. 1
  3. 3. CHAPTER IV: 3G, LOVE AND ROMANCE CHAPTER V: 3G ETIQUETTE Would like to meet: dating services Anthropomorphic angst The usefulness of 3G for people looking for romantic partners. Though the Or, the polite paradox. Either way, this discusses the strange fact that biggest commercial video-call service launched this far in Japan was not a “polite” mobile countries such as Sweden and Japan, place great commercial success, various formal and informal uses of 3G features have emphasis on decorum, unobtrusive phone use and discretion, yet regard been. A man in Israel makes video calls in addition to viewing profiles of their increasingly feature-heavy, personalised handsets almost as people, potential partners on a dating website, because such conversations – being and so, paradoxically, behave increasingly ostentatiously in relation to spontaneous and intimate, rather than prerecorded and generic – give him a callers. Japanese “belly talk” an example of the kind of gestural language much better sense of the personalities of others. Japanese girls too shy to unwittingly used in such phone conversations. ask for boys’ numbers take pictures with them at parties and then send them those pictures, thus initiating contact in a less nerve-wracking way. Alpha mail: status and browsing in US cities An email account was first a status symbol, then a ball-and-chain tying Long-distance love businesspeople to desks. So now, being able to browse mail out of the Mobile phones have made it possible to sustain long-distance relationships office, via a 3G device, is a status symbol: you can be out but still at work. in which actual physical contact is very rare. New 3G features are adding Describe local variations on this status system: the player-displayer (New an extra dimension to this trend. A fighter pilot feels video calls give York/Washington DC), the always-on entrepreneur (San Francisco) and conversations with his distant girlfriend much more meaning, because of mediated mobility in relation to Los Angeles’s entertainment industry, the gesture and expression (“things that can’t be said”). A partner of a soldier one place where it’s still key to have an assistant who browses your email finds that her videophone has made privacy possible in a place – an army for you. barracks – where there was, historically, no private space at all. Video etiquette ‘Tooth and fiction: Bluetooth encounters and urban myths A breakdown of how a video caller frames him or herself sets the parameters Exploration of the way Bluetooth generates myths. The key to this power for the conversation: passport control is the standard, neutral mode of seems to be the way it enables a sudden communication with anyone exchange; necking sees the frame shift position to take in the neck, opening similarly ‘switched on’ so that an anonymous crowd suddenly becomes up the possibilities of a more intimate exchange without any promises; going a place peopled with potential intimates. Examples include those of boys down is any framing that goes below the neck, suggesting that anything goes. and girls swapping details and photos, Bluetooth flirting and the fictional phenomenon of “toothing”, dreamed up by a UK journalist as a prank in 2004 but taken up as a serious story by the news media. 2
  4. 4. CHAPTER VI: 3G AND POST VERBAL COMMUNICATION CHAPTER VII : 3G AND SPEED Digital democracy Time is money: 3G and the entrepreneurial spirit How recording via mobile – whether sound, video, or still image – has 3G is being seen as a tool for making the idea of wasted time or dead broken down barriers between “public” and “private”, leaders and citizens, time redundant: Japanese commuters are reading e-novels and comics etc. Examples include Colin Powell and Tony Blair photographing with their on their 3G handsets; Korean students are downloading lectures so that own phones at grand, televised occasions – in each case they behaved they can get on with running their businesses. For the near future, there’s like audience members, not old-fashioned statesmen. excitement about phone as “secretary”, helping to manage individuals’ lives, both business and social. Mofessionalism A trend related to digital democracy, mofessionalism is the result of 3G Junior elites handsets equipping users to act as professionals. Mofessionalism is the How young people’s ease with multimedia applications has created concern phenomenon of amateurs being enabled to become experts or correspondents for parents being out of touch with their children, but also how it has by having the right technology and being at the right place and time. empowered young people, who are alert to certain cultural phenomena months before they register with mainstream society and media. Youthful Closer to God: some spiritual reflections on 3G transmission of data via phones at near-instant speeds is a kind of modern How assumption that technology estranges people from technology is being equivalent of nursery rhymes. disproved by the way phones are being used by the faithful. Israelis can subscribe to a service whereby their phones are switched off by the provider for the duration of the Sabbath. The Church of Sweden ran a campaign featuring mobile phones displayed as a kind of alternative to faith. Mourners at the Pope’s funeral used phones to document the event, creating a new kind of relic. 3
  5. 5. CHAPTER VIII: 3G AND SPACE Where are you? How “Where are you?” was the universal mobile-phone question pinpointed by Sadie Plant in On the Mobile and why it needs a rethink in the 3G area. The new technology, after all, is not about mobility, but also, thanks to GPS, Bluetooth, etc, about specific locations. The relationship between 3G and the physical world is a new, multifaceted and unique one. South Koreans can track friends in a neighbourhood via handsets, and make notes for collective viewing on virtual maps. Some Japanese prefer analogue GPS (their term for giving directions via video call), but still use GPS – eg, has led to a reduction in numbers of hikers stranded on weekends. A remote control for reality How phones are increasingly not an escape from reality, but increasingly a mediating device between users and that reality. One Japanese service provider offers a free download that turns phones into remote controls. Swedes check on summer house webcams via phones. 4
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