Week 6 – Mobile Media and Space

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This week’s reading was very much in my comfort zone.  Mobiles. Had it not been for the invention of this simple yet powerful mode of media, the contemporary era now, as we know it, would probably cease to exist.

Just a few days ago, I experienced firsthand what it felt like to forget my mobile phone.  The convenience of the mobile phone prescribes the user the ability to call a number of contacts regardless of where they are physically.  Text messages are also a more favourable option of the mobile phone, in which case I prefer the use of.  At the time, when I had realised that my phone was not with me, I felt a sense of loss and unusually the feeling of vulnerability.  It was also a day I had arranged to meet a friend at a certain place and time.  Without the use of my mobile, indeed I felt terribly lost and without the sense of convenience in which the mobile catered the use of.

The following readings by Clara Volker and Mizuko Ito focused on the use of mobile media and mobile phones and what it caters to the community. 

Volker focused particularly on the connections between media technologies and virtual spaces.  In her article, Volker discussed how the expansions of mobile phones have resulted in physical and virtual capabilities that would otherwise be impossible.  Through the use of the mobile phone, spaces are created as they ‘permanently intertwine with the physical space’.  Also within the article, Volker raises a number of negative aspects in the uses of digital media, particularly with its involvement in the society as ‘these technologies of modernity lead to a displacement and dislocation of space’.  In some aspects I agree with this as the beauty of face-to-face contact is disengaged on the basis of constant use of media technologies.  Through these technologies we immerse ourselves into a virtual, digital space, thus disengaging and alienating ourselves from reality.   Although I believe that while we still presently communicate through physical conversation in society, the habitual use of media as a vehicle of communication is very much present as a form of convenient conversation without having to leave one’s physical boundaries.

Similarly, Ito reiterates the issues Volker analyses; however he focuses more on the phenomenon of mobile phones as a device that liberates Japanese youths from the constraints of boundaries within the family home.   The mobile phone, he argues not only liberates youths from these boundaries but allows the user to circumvent the power of ‘geo-metrics’ of the home or classroom.   He uses examples including phone calls and text messages to support this, arguing that the latter is a hallmark of culture use due to its ease of access and speed.  Indeed this bears true to what Ito argues, as it allows me to indulge in a favourite past time: texting a friend to kill time whether on the way home or in a boring lecture.  Arguably, the mobile phone confers ultimate control over one’s virtual space, allowing the user a sense of dual spheres in which they can access whenever and wherever.

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