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The Mobile Connection: The Cell Phone's Impact on Society (08 Sep 2004)
Ling next devotes a chapter each to the obvious appeal of mobile phones for security and safety uses and to the social effects of the temporal coordination of our affairs that the devices make possible. The former topic is fairly intuitive and is probably the reason many of us gave mobile phones to our children and parents, although he makes clear that such intended uses do not necessarily comprise the dominant uses the phones wind up serving for their recipients. The latter topic contains an interesting if barely relevant discussion of the history of timekeeping but goes on to address one of his major interests: that the social effect of "microcoordination" is more complex and interactive than seems evident at first glance. The point is clear enough once raised. Without question, we can better coordinate the details of our social interactions, our comings and goings, our finding each other, if we can talk quickly to each other from no matter where. Less obvious is the fact that having such an unprecedented ability exerts an impact on the forms of our social interaction themselves, not only the ways we make and keep our appointments but the sort of appointments we make and other details of our daily lives.
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