Author Archives: jessaclara
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)?
When reading Digital Literacy for Technical Communicators (Spilka, 2010), what struck me was the concept of assumption mentioned in chapter two, “The Effects of Digital Literacy on the Nature of Technical Communication Work.” Author R. Stanley Dicks gives an overview of the technical skill involved in technical communication, and it’s rapid evolution with rise in the digital age. He states that “It is too easy to look at the latest trends and assume that all workers will be doing those new, different tasks in the near future” (Spilka, 2010, p. 51). Technical communicators see the fundamental process of their jobs changing rapidly. When this happens, a shift in work production ensues. Is this due to the time adjustment for learning new technical processes? Perhaps, but Spilka states that it should be remembered that trends “…largely have to do with the tools and technologies associated with the discipline, and not with the core competency skills that the discipline continues to require” (Spilka, 2010, p. 52). Perhaps a core skill for any technical communicator is the ability to adapt quickly to shifting trends.
For educators, the shifting trends can be especially problematic when deciding what aspects of curriculum to change, and which resources to seek. Are the trends universal or isolated to a niche aspect of technology? Are there enough resources to adequately teach fundamental skills? These questions, among others, face educators in technical communication. Spilka acknowledges this and says that educators can “…continue to develop internship and cooperative education opportunities and to encourage their students to take advantage of them” (Spilka, 2010, p. 76). This kind of cooperative relationship between educator and student allows teachers to keep track of changes in the nature of technical communication.
In the concept of emerging media, however, are there sufficient opportunities for students? Will educators follow up in order to know what emerging trends will face their future students? These are all questions I found myself asking when reading this week’s work.