What’s Wrong with the Landline? We Prefer Text.
Imagine this: You are at a dinner with friends, either out at a restaurant or in someone’s home, and know only one or two people in the room. Although you’ve had a lovely conversation with one young woman, she has excused herself to the restroom and you are no longer tethered to a conversation. What is your first reaction?
More than likely, you turn to your phone either to check the time or fill time.
Welcome to the world of contextual mobility 2.0.
While reading “Implications of Mobility” by author Kenichi Ishii (2006), I could not help but trace the eight-year-ago paper’s summary to new examination of mobility, as described by Turkle (2012) and Rheigngold (2014). The author’s work seems almost a forshadowing of current social forms of communication. The idea of contextualized communication has, since the paper’s publication, become a norm. For example, the author gives an overview of young people using mobile phones to maintain social networks beyond parental grasp, and that mobile phones “…[are] used to obtain freedom from family grip” (Ishii, 2006, p. 348).
With the decline of landline usage, the contextualization for youth using mobile phones has shifted to a norm of communication, leading to Turkle’s (2012) point that humans expect more from technology and less from each other. This, perhaps, rising from the idea that contextual mobility has “….enable[d] mobile phones users to communicate more freely from an existing social context” (Ishii, 2006, p. 350). Published shortly after the birth of Facebook, I see the author’s paper as forbearance of future events.
Perhaps most prophetical is the author’s illumination between low social skills and mobile use. Today, millennials hate getting voicemail, and prefer text over actual phone conversations. This hyper-contextualization of communication is pointed out in the author’s note that “…it is hypothesized that people with low social skills prefer mobile mail to mobile voice phone as compared to people with higher social skills” (Ishii, 2006, p. 351). Taken in context of Turkle’s point that “…Some of the things we do now with our devices, only a few years ago we would have found odd. We would have found disturbing” (Turkle, TEDtalk, February 2012), such as prefering text over voicemail
What do you think? Is Ishii’s (2006) work a foreshadowing of contextual communication mentioned by Turkle (2012)?