Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Mobile Devices Are Changing Our Lives

I recently signed out magazines from my nearby public library for recreational reading on a flight. I still like reading print, but don't like spending the $6 or more magazine now costs. Granted they were a bit old, but applicable to my research interests.

Toronto Life Magazine had an excellent article on the problems with RIM, "Lazaridis and Balsillie Meet Their Waterloo" (unfortunately, not available online).

Time magazine had a "Wireless Issues" this past August that discussed "10 Ways Your Phone Is Changing the World". These ways and their respective articles are:
  1. Democracy - elections will never be the same
  2. Giving - doing good by texting
  3. Spending - bye-bye, wallets
  4. Secrets (and surveillance) - the phone knows all
  5. Attitudes (socializing & communicating) - your life is fully mobile
  6. Talking (rural telecommunications) - the grid is winning
  7. Seeing (photography) - a camera goes anywhere
  8. Play - toys get unplugged
  9. Learning - gadgets go to class
  10. Health - disease can't hide
I'm planning a class (hopefully to teach sometime soon) on how mobile devices have affected our society and identified these areas as the major ways mobiles are changing our lives. But I wondered what other areas are changing as a result of the increasingly global, ubiquitous access to mobiles?

I was thinking this blog post would be a good place to iteratively document mobiles impact from the major to the minor. So I would love for readers to add their thoughts or experiences with this. Here are my observations:
  • Socializing and Lifestreaming - our ever-present mobile devices enables us to share the magnificent and minute details of our lives
  • Identity and Memory - not only do mobile devices allow us to record and reflect on the events and images of our lives, but they provide a way to craft and project our identity and serve as memory aids and diaries
  • Personal efficiency - from digital to-do lists, calling the spouse at the grocery store, or proximal reminders - mobile devices help us manage our lives for efficiently (and also prevent us from ever escaping it)
  • Information and m-Libraries - through either e-books, online news, reviews or facts, or mobile friendly info databases, we have more ready access to information than ever possible
  • Maps - do we need them any more with GPS and maps on our phone or in our car (but we do need to learn to not drive into the ocean or onto logging roads because or device told us too)
  • Accessibility - there are strong barriers to use of mobile devices based on ability literacy, and finances - but mobile devices are providing new forms of information and communication access to groups that have not otherwise had it such as in the developing world or for the deaf and their use of instant messaging as a readily available mass communication method.
That's all I can think of now, but I'm sure there are many other ways mobile devices are changing our lives - so please share your thoughts here.

No comments: