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)?

Posted on November 16, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I’ll wait for your peers to answer the question you pose at the end, but as I spent some time deciding whether or not to keep the 2006 article on the syllabus or not, I’m glad your making connections and noting its “history.”

    Also, there’s never anything wrong with a BBC Sherlock reference!

  2. For me, there was always a connection I was trying to make when reading and discussing Turkle. When you quoted Ishii and included low social skill, it clicked. What is social skill and quality communication. Here is two examples.

    1-Your sister doesn’t like to talk on the phone. When communicating with friends, she prefers to text or use social media. She doesn’t have much to say and uses one and two word answers when conversing in person.

    2-Your uncle loves to talk on the phone. He calls three times a week and would go on for an hour if you didn’t have to cut him off. He tells the same jokes on Friday that he told you on Monday, and doesn’t quite wait for you to finish your sentence before he jumps in and changes the subject.

    Each example is on opposite ends of the spectrum. Which person has low social skills? Which one engages in quality communication? In the very end, when you cut through all the fluff, regardless of the media that a person uses to communicate and the quantity of words used in their communication, it seems that the individual is the determining factor of quality communication.

  3. I’m glad you saw the connection, too. Honestly, it wasn’t until I read through Ishii’s article that I was able to find the distinct connection (at least in a historical-to-present correlation).

  4. For quick conversations I prefer text. E-mail is a pain in the neck unless you need to send documents back and forth or it is a more formal/professional discussion. For anything complicated, however, I think a phone call, whether it is through Skype, Hangouts, etc. is important. We can think and speak faster than we can type and I think oral communication makes things move along more easily.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.