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Unplugged and connected Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Stu, Canada Mar 3, 2009
Human Rights , Culture , Technology   Opinions


Unplugged and connected Picture a pocket sized address book in your head for second… Listed down the right hand side are the letters A through Z on little tabs, each well designed for flicking from entry to entry effortlessly.

Now imagine if, every time you turned the page, each entry displayed an auto updated picture of that person. The page would also display a dated custom status, current interests, a bulletin board showing a host of semi-public messages and the ability to instantly send a message to that person. Welcome to the Facebook application on the Iphone 3G, Blackberry or similar PDAs.

Arguably there are many other things available on mobile Facebook but the reality is that this one application has accomplished something that, 10 years ago, would have consumed days of real-time phone calls, face-to-face conversations and written documentation. It is for this particular reason that the size of the average personal network of acquaintances and friends has grown enormously.

Obviously this affects your daily life. If it didn’t, people at work wouldn’t quickly hit alt+tab (to change the window) every time their boss started walking around the office. If one was so inclined, and battery power was infinite, one could kill an entire day having multiple chopped up conversations with people all around the world. No longer does geography hamper friendships as people travel, making their way through life.

Greater connections to the world are at the root of our ability to act. Facebook can organize your relationships to a degree, but when it comes to acting on something, speed and ease of access to information are key. This is the true value of the mobile movement. Social gatherings for whatever reason (lobbies, protests or petitions) can happen in a flash and, therefore, getting a snapshot of public opinion should be more efficient.

We are not done yet. Close your address book, bring it to your ear and listen for a beep. Now ask any question you can think of in short keywords. Instantly, assuming your pronunciation is on key, you have access to a list of possible answers assembled by the entire online world. Is your mind blown yet? No? You are probably from the NetGen, those who have grown up with this technology, and consider it part of life. But Google mobile, along with its legions of functionalities (including maps), provides a similar time-saving, information-accessing service that combines all possible queries one could fathom.

No longer is society pigeon-holed into accepting the news from television as the be-all and end-all of information. All the arguments about biased news lost relevance when we started to realize that the younger generation growing up didn’t trust the news and that if any news really interested them, a quick check on the net would clarify things. So the demise of one argument raised another: net neutrality. We have realized that what happened with the media industry in the 80s and 90s should not be repeated with the same concentration of power.

So how has a mobile phone transformed my life? Simple, it has allowed me to unplug yet stay connected. I don’t need to sacrifice hours of my time in front of a computer to maintain my social network. Instead, I can stay informed and update others while still spending valuable time with my closest friends and family.

In essence, it is life-enriching. And when this device evolves to facilitate secure financial transactions and a credible voting/ polling process I will truly be in awe of how we can control and change the world.

Picture, Your wife has begotten a cell phone, by Ayman El-Hakea.



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Writer Profile

I am a strong supporter of net neutrality and open opinion. I think in our democracy the internet is extremely important in providing everyone a voice. These views have developed from studying history, communications and media at university. Now working through life and writing for aboutviral.com has further solidified the importance of being connected and maintaining universal access to information.

I agree
Stuart Dykstra | Mar 5th, 2009
No doubt relying on technology dulls the brain but it can also really enhance learning. We can see that here on TIG through the educational features. It really comes down to the individual having strong core values. There will always be people who will take the easy road and thats fine as long as we still get those who really want to do their best too. We are fortunate to have these devices and soon they will be cheaper as demand goes up for them. Right now there's a shift happening where data is becoming important and Voip is a viable option. Cisco is building IP based networks all across the world and that is going to severely threaten the large telecommunications industry. Hopefully prices will drop then and more of us can enjoy whats coming. Thanks for the comment.

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