Communication

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As I walked into work the other day, I had my cell phone and car keys in my hand. I walked into the office, hung up my coat and immediately starting playing on my smart phone. Since I was about twenty minutes early, I had some time to spare. On my phone, I decided to check my email and play a couple games. Minutes later my manager walks in. Within seconds he sarcastically states, "Is that all you do is play on your phone...  I swear people these days would be lost without their cell phones." At first, I kind of chuckled and laughed at his comment. I told him to stop picking on me. However, the more I thought about his comment, the more I thought he was right. Our society has become very dependent on cell phones.

According to Jim Katz, a professor at MIT, no contemporary cultural artifact embodies the genius and the disruptive excess of capitalism as clearly as the cell phone. Cell phones are game consoles, cameras, email systems, text messengers, carries of entertainment and business data (Rauch, 2008). When it comes down to it, cell phones have even taken the place of alarm clocks. If you survey ten people, I bet nine of them--if not all of them--use their cell phone as an alarm clock. These days, it seems as if a phone can do anything.

With that being said, I believe cell phones are popular for many reasons. For one reason, who wouldn't want a device that allows you to play games, make a phone call and surf the web all at the same time? Cell phones are popular due to the individual performance of the objects. I believe they are also popular because it's an easy way to communicate with someone. If you need to tell someone a quick message, all you have to do is text them. Writing a text and sending it, depending on the length of the message, only takes a couple of seconds. I think this is a very easy way to communicate with people which is way cell phone have taken over the lives of thousands of people.

I recently came across a quote by a professor at MIT. James Katz states, "Cell phones are enabling people to create their own micro-cultures; they are changing cultural norms and values, and demonstrating consumers' ability to modify and repurpose technology for their own use. I believe that cell phones, by allowing people to insulate their private interactions from the culture around them, will encourage a kind of 'walled garden' of micro-cultures that is complex, but exclusive." I think his outlook gives cell phones a whole new appearance. In my own words, cell phones are enabling people to do anything they wish. Cell phones have become a mini computer packed into the size of a deck of cards.

 

References

Rauch, P. (2008, November). Cell phone culture. Retrieved from http://web.mit.edu/comm-forum/forums/cell_phone_culture.htm

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2 Comments

I absolutely agree with you. Cell phones have taken the place of home phones, letters, alarm clocks, calendars, and cameras. I completely understand the desire to consolidate many products into one, but at times I miss the old way of doing things. I think the thing that has me most concerned is the shorthand of texting. It is very rare to see fully spelled out words and punctuation.

I worry that for teens and often people younger than that will take their text shorthand into the classroom with them. My aunt is a teacher and I’ve heard of many instances where her students have written papers using texting shorthand. A study done by Casebere, Cingel, Maloney, & Tsui (n.d.) found that it is possible for those who have already established linguistic knowledge can code-shift between texting shorthand and proper English when they need to. The worrisome thing is that children are beginning to text at a younger age. Most are within an age where they are developing their linguistic skills. This poses a potential issue of not being able to code-shift between texting shorthand and using proper linguistic skills.


References

Casebere, C., Cingel, D., Maloney, P., & Tsui, C. (n.d.). Media Effects Research Lab @ Penn State University. Welcome to Penn State's Home on the Web. Retrieved December 9, 2011, from http://www.psu.edu/dept/medialab/researchpage/newabstracts/grammar.html

I was reading an article in the New York Times and the title really caught my eye, “Text Generation Gap: U R 2 Old (JK).” I don’t think of myself as “old” but I remember bag phones. No texting, 15 minutes free a month and it was better than the CB Radio it replaced. Alas, I guess I am part of the “old school” group now. Texting has changed the way people communicate. Generation Text, can sit in the backseat of their parents car and surf the internet, talk to friends all over the country and listen to the latest song by Lady GaGa. It can easily be argued that cellphones have changed society as much as the automobile. “Cellphones demand parental involvement of a different kind. Kids can do a lot of things in front of their parents without them even knowing” (Holson, 2008). How is our world going to change when Generation Text is in their 30’s? It will be interesting to find out.
References
Holson, L. M. (2008, March 9). Text Generation Gap. Retrieved December 9, 2011, from New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/09/business/09cell.html?pagewanted=all

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