Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mobile interstices

Dr Joolz has a good post on the Pew Internet Survey and some commentary on the wireless world. It strikes me that the real shift is happening in the world of mobile technology (at least here in the UK). The implications for social networking are very interesting - your friends are always with you until your battery dies OR until you delete them. So the virtual and the real are interwoven in new ways. You are present and you are not present; here and almost here; now and nearly now. All of these but in a perfectly ordinary, everyday sort of way. This is from the Horizon 2010 report: ‘Mobiles as a category have proven more interesting and more capable with each passing year, and continue to be a technology with new surprises. The mobile market today has nearly 4 billion subscribers, more than two-thirds of whom live in developing countries. Well over a billion new phones are produced each year, a flow of continuous enhancement and innovation that is unprecedented in modern times. The fastest-growing sales segment belongs to smart phones - which means that a massive and increasing number of people all over the world now own and use a computer that fits in their hand and is able to connect to the network wirelessly from virtually anywhere. Thousands of applications designed to support a wide range of tasks on virtually any smart-phone operating system are readily available, with more entering the market all the time. These mobile computing tools have become accepted aids in daily life, giving us on-the-go access to tools for business, video/audio capture and basic editing, sensing and measurement, geolocation, social networking, personal productivity, references, just-in-time learning - indeed, virtually anything that can be done on a desktop.’ My Masters students tell me how they are doing some of their coursework at the bus stop, in between meetings and so on. They can connect to their studies, to others in that particular affinity space, in the interstitial moments of their daily lives. Is that new, or is it new? I guess it's nearly new!

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