Contributions of Cell Phones to New media Sylvain Cibangu COM 538 (Fall 2003)
The perspective is sociological (social/societal) Social Facts: • Fact with durable effect in history/time. E.g., Friendship, family, election, etc. But a crowd although happening in society is not a social fact. • Fact with a strain of connected actions. E.g., Neighborhood, children, sport fan, etc. • Fact that involves at least two individuals. Obviously, cell phones constitute a typical social fact
Terminology of Cell Phones: loose and unregulated. • At least ten words: cell, cellphone, cell phone, cellular, mobile, personal, portable, transportable, wearable, wireless. • This hotchpotch of words does not favor research E.g., telephone has always been cellular. There is no non-cellular telephone.
History of Telephony From the history of telephony, almost nothing is particular or new to cell phones.
History of Telephony (Cont’d) Wireless/New? In the late 1870s: Since previous electrical communication had been by means of wires, ‘wireless’ seemed like the logical name and served until 1906. In that year,” went on Coe, “an international conference meeting in Berlin, Germany, decided that the word ‘radio’ should henceforth be used to describe the new miracle of communication… The word wireless continued to be used in England and the colonies, and still is today. (Coe, 1996, p. 3)
History of Telephony (Cont’d) Popular? Two almost universally accepted characteristics of cellphones: their popularity and the novelty of the 1990s (Flichy, 1995; Parsons, 2002; Schneiderman, 1994). In the 1910s, “even with their limitations, the first mobile telephones were welcomed [and] grew in popularity” (Coe, 1996, p. 103). In short, the contributions of cell phones raise a lot of questions.