Mobile content: intimacy, immediacy and socialisation

The mobile phone has profoundly altered our perceptions of
telecommunications and personal computing, but it is also
changing our notions of narrative as it evolves into a multimedia
production tool, entertainment portal and communication device.
In order to create content for this revolutionary media device,
it is essential that producers understand how social practices
surrounding the mobile phone may influence the creation and
production of mobile content. Designers of content for the mobile
phone must also acknowledge the role of user patterns as a factor
that may shape the look and feel of mobile content.

The mobile phone has become the primary tool for the management
of communications and the sharing of media content. It has successfully
embedded itself into our daily lives, thus promoting a greater
relationship between human and computer. The mobile phone may
have emancipated its users from the confines of the fixed line telephone,
but this very mobility has transformed the manner and method in which
we communicate, create and share information.

The mobile phone provides a portable connection to people and
places outside of our immediate experience, thus enabling an
almost constant connectivity to the people and places that form
the basis of our social networks. In her essay “On the Mobile”,
Plant (2002) observes that:

The mobile requires its users to manage the intersection of the
real present and the conversational present in a manner that is
mindful of both. Many mobile users have become adept at
operating as though in two worlds in these psychological senses,
and in more physical ways as well: in a way the mobile has
created a new mode in which the human mind can operate,
a kind of bi-psyche. (Plant, 2002:51)

The portability of the mobile phone allows the user to access
content in non site-specific locations. Each mobile phone user
forms part of a greater network of users who are sharing
communications and media content in an ever-growing network.
Advancements in mobile technology have provided mobile user’s
with the necessary tools (still & video camera, audio recorder,
internet, etc) to capture, edit and publish content for both easy
storage and syndication across the mobile network. Mobile
phone users often become content pushers, using the mobile
networks and bluetooth application to disseminate a wide
variety of media to other users who then push back with
more content.

The miniature or micro screen invites the viewer to enter
into an intimate relationship with the data that filters
through the mobile device. Unlike the shared viewing
experience associated with the viewing of content in
a cinema or on a television screen, the small screen
of the mobile phone invites notions of intimacy, as
the screen content is generally only viewed by the
owner of the phone and often cupped within the
palm of the hand.

The intimate nature of the user relationship with the
mobile device suggests a heightened personal relationship
with the narrative and the content, and this is further
evidenced by the growing trend towards user-generated
content. The mobile phone has enabled the transition to
a mediated self; constantly absorbing, constructing and
generating narrative forms. The mobile device becomes
an integrated part of the self, influencing both our
identity and social behaviour.

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~ by Dean on September 24, 2008.

One Response to “Mobile content: intimacy, immediacy and socialisation”

  1. I believe “The intimate nature of the user relationship with the
    mobile device suggests a heightened personal relationship
    with the narrative and the content,” and the person producing that narrative on the other end. I have seen this a number of times. The user is immersed in the little world created by their phone and starts to interpret it as reality. Seeing the larger world through the smaller one, instead of the other way around. When the larger world intrudes it almost certainly causes psychological problems.

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