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Cell Phones Changing Social Group Communication

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the peer-pressure dept.

Handhelds 430

Mortimer.CA writes "An interesting article on how cell phones are changing the way people interact and get together in Japan. Some interesting quotations: 'To not have a keitai (cell phone) is to be walking blind, disconnected from just-in-time information on where and when you are in the social networks of time and place.' And the new social faux pas: 'One college student I spoke to described leaving one's phone at home or letting the battery die as "the new taboo."' The article mentions the book Smart Mobs which was mentioned on Slashdot before. I keep thinking how Marshal McLuhan said that our new inventions change the way we view the world. This is 'obvious' now, but was quite a new idea when he thought of it. In the 40s and 50s you "needed" to get a (land line) phone, then it was cars, email, and now cell phones. What's next? Is it simply a matter of keeping up with the Joneses?"

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Am I the only that hates cell phones? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5468060)

I mean, not just being around people who use them, but using them myself. The whole idea of having to carry a phone with you is just... wrong. I don't want to be part of one of these groups.

Re:Am I the only that hates cell phones? (4, Interesting)

tigertigr (610853) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468162)

I don't know about anybody else, but I like my time alone. I like to know that if I am out for a walk or doing something outside my home, no one (unless they are in my immediate vicinity) is going to interfere with that. I like to multi-task my work, but I don't like to multi-task my play.

Re:Am I the only that hates cell phones? (1)

sydres (656690) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468164)

I agree totaly but in the field that I hope to end up in (network/security)after college. will probably mean I will need one just to keep in touch with realitysince I probably will be gone all the time

Re:Am I the only that hates cell phones? (1, Insightful)

Evil Adrian (253301) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468176)

I think the idea of driving a vehicle around without a phone is just wrong. What if it breaks down or you get in an accident?

Re:Am I the only that hates cell phones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5468188)

You do what you have done for about 60 years between common use of automobiles and common use of cell phones - you walk/limp/drag yourself to the nearest house and summon help.

Re:Am I the only that hates cell phones? (1)

Evil Adrian (253301) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468221)

That doesn't work if it is 10 below zero outside, or you are old, or you are in a bad neighborhood (case in point: Bill Cosby's son [] ), or you are on the New Jersey Turnpike...

It's stupid to not have a cell phone in your car.

Re:Am I the only that hates cell phones? (1)

Balthisar (649688) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468208)

Why I don't hate 'em, I thought *I* was the strange one for having just disconnected mine. I never used it but for emergencies. It still works for 911 (free, even), and if I need to call someone, it gets on the America's Roaming Network with a credit card. That $6.00/minute once a year will easily make up for the $220/year I was paying.

Re:Am I the only that hates cell phones? (1)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468219)

No, you are not the only one. I like being out of touch, though I am not above leaching someone elses phone when I do something stupid like lock myself out of my car. I finally broke down and bought an answering machine though.. cost me all of $3 at goodwill for a nice digital one.

Re:Am I the only that hates cell phones? (5, Interesting)

Alex Thorpe (575736) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468234)

I have no desire to carry either a cell phone or pager, even if they were completely free. Anyone needing to reach me can call me at home, and if I'm not there, CallNotes can take a message. I've long considered pagers to be a form of those radio transmitters they tag wild animals with to track them, and I don't want to be tracked. Making a call? I hardly dial out on my phone at home that often, and it's not like there won't be a phone anywhere I go if an emergency comes up!

I use email, sometimes AIM/iChat, and a corded phone with Caller ID. That's all I need.

Re:Am I the only that hates cell phones? (1)

TV-SET (84200) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468263)

I have no desire to carry either a cell phone or pager, even if they were completely free.

Actually, nowadays, they pay you to carry a cell phone with you. I am one of those paid. And - yes, I am a sysadmin with a 24x7 contract. :)

Re:Am I the only that hates cell phones? (3, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468262)

I personally hate the entire idea of telephones. The idea that when they ring you should interrupt whatever you are doing and answer them just seems impolite. I also don't like talking to people on the telephone due to the amount of information you lose. When you talk to someone face-to-face you get all sorts of clues about what they're thinking from their expression, posture and even their smell. Without these you can miss a lot of communication.

I own a mobile, and often carry it around with me, but it's turned off unless I either need to make a call, or know someone actually needs to talk to me. I try to check my messages fairly regularly, and usually get back to people, if they leave one. I do not regard a telephone as a means of communication, but as a way of arranging when to meet people with whom I wish to communicate.

Re:Am I the only that hates cell phones? (4, Interesting)

mce (509) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468283)

No you are not the only one.

I work for a micro-electonics research institute. One of our many activities actually is making the implementation of ever smarter and feature-rich cellphones and similar devices ever more easy. Even worse, my very own project is about designing for low power from the system level downwards. One could say we're part of the cell phone companies pipe dreams. (Actually, my project worked closely with one of the major cell phone companies in the past, and now another one is very intersted.) All that just to make very clear that I'm not oposed to the technology for the technology's sake. But neither am I in favour of it "just because".

I will personally *never* be caught having my own cell phone. I will carry/use one if the job that I'm doing at that very moment requires that I be reachable while away from any fixed phone system (which happens maybe once per year), but I flat out *refuse* to give in to the "But sir, you have to be reachable, don't you?" pressure. *I* am the one who decides when and where I want to be reachable. And when I've decided that I'm not to be reached, I will implement that very strictly. Now, I know that one can switch off those buggers when one doesn't want to be disturbed, but that is not the same thing: simply by always carrying that thing around, one creates that expection that one be reachable. Maybe not immediately, but definitely within the hour. People then just assume that they can interrupt your life at any moment, because "Hey, what else (s)he's got that cellphone for, afterall?". Then when you diseble it for more than one or two hours on end, they look at you like you're the bad guy/gall who prevented them from doing something "important" such as telling you they ran into Joe or Mary on the way to the bakery. As if that kind of chit-chat can't wait till next time you really see each other. If by then it's still worthy of being told at all, that is.

Also concerning the "but you have to be reachable" craze: Once upon a time my phone company "discovered" that I use the internet a lot when at home. This is over a plain old dial-up modem, so they figured that "he's got to be reachable, so lets enable our nice (and paying!) mailbox service for him". Now there is some poor helpdesk guy over there who probably still has not recovered from what befell him after I found out what they had done and got in touch to get it disabled again. They charge the person who calls you for leaving the message, they charge you *again* for listening to the recording, and then they charge one of you *yet again* when you finnally do get to speak to one another on the phone? Not with me. Not in a million years.

If all that makes me a social outcast, than so be it.

Re:Am I the only that hates cell phones? (1)

mce (509) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468307)

PS: Sorry about all the typos. I accidently hit the submit button iso the preview one..

Re:Am I the only that hates cell phones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5468300)

I'm with you on this. I have a feeling that we're the future's crotchety old guys who "don't take stock in all this 'mobile communication' hooey".

Perhaps ... (-1)

sithkhan (536425) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468061)

It may not be a matter of keeping up with the Jones' as much as a matter of keeping up with the FIRST POST!

Re:Perhaps ... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5468067)

fuck off, dipshit

Cell phone repairs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5468063)

Now if only when my cell phone died under warranty, they would repair it, and return it to me in less than a month. :(

"have to have"? (5, Interesting)

adamruck (638131) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468064)

Well I spend alot of time with my friends, and we certainly dont "have to have" a cell phone. To me, the only real situation you would absolutly need a cell phone is in case of emergency(car dies on the highway, that sort of thing).

Re:"have to have"? (1)

Ark42 (522144) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468078)

I agree completely. I dont even have any portal phones. I have 2 completely wired down phones, one with speaker phone. They (minus the speaker phone probably) work even if the power is out, and never need charging, and can never disturb me when Im not home.

I agree (0)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468090)

I do not have a cell phone. I have a pager for work only and its off after work. I rarely answer my home phone(because of telemarketers.)

Im primarily a computer communication dude.

I gave up ICQ when yahoo allowed someone to steal my email account which let them steal my ICQ account, and yahoo threatened ME. (gave up yahoo too of course)

I gave up cell phone when someone broke into car and stole it 2 weeks after I upgraded to new contract after years without a contract and Ameritech made me pay the whole fucking contract for 2 years without a phone. (no im not paying $500 for a phone)

I use my wifes cell when I travel sometimes, but I can just live without it. Of course I'm 32 and mellow...

Re:I agree (5, Funny)

JDWTopGuy (209256) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468253)

You gave up ICQ when somebody cracked in to your email, you gave up the cell phone when somebody broke in to your car...

What happens if somebody breaks in to your house and steals your radio? Will you stop listening to your radio at home? If they steal your TV, will you stop watching TV?

Hope they don't steal your toilet, dude.

Sorry for the trollish post, but duuuuude, cell phones don't cost $500. Try $100.

Re:"have to have"? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5468105)

A LOT is two fucking words

Re:"have to have"? (-1, Offtopic)

adamruck (638131) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468121)

read the sig, im not writting an essay, it's a slashdot post

I'm sick of... (3, Insightful)

sdo1 (213835) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468071)

I'm sick of everyone I know having the expectation that they can contact me anytime and anywhere. Sometimes I'd just like to disapear for a while and not be concerned with whether someone is trying to contact me or not.

It's not just a trend in Japan... it's happening here in the US too. And it's not a good thing I think...


Re:I'm sick of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5468112)

So? Turn off the damned phone. I do it and I am still alive. If people really want to talk to you, they'll leave a message.

Re:I'm sick of... (1)

tenordave (461908) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468245)

But then it's hardly any different from a voice-mail box on the home landline.

Re:I'm sick of... (2, Interesting)

Evil Adrian (253301) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468145)

I rarely even turn my cell phone on anymore... land line costs less. I use the cell phone only to call AAA or 911; if my friends need to get in touch with me, I live at home. :-)

Re:I'm sick of... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468192)

I've got my phone on very nearly all the time. It's cheap, and my land-line phone is too far away from my computer. I don't answer it if I'm in the car. The only thing that's a hassle is my girlfriend is on another network and it's nearly as much to call her mobile as it is to call her land-line, which she's never anywhere near.

Then again, we've had decent mobile phone service in the UK for a lot longer than the US has had it, so the business model (and hence pricing) is more mature.

Re:I'm sick of... (4, Insightful)

Ryan Amos (16972) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468254)

Some of us are away from the house so much that cell phones are a must. I'm probably at home for an hour every day when I'm not sleeping. My cell phone is probably the only way to get ahold of me within a few days. It's less a "trend" and more a byproduct of our busier lifestyle we live.

Re:I'm sick of... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468282)

land line costs less

Which is why the only number I ever give out is my mobile number. If people really want to talk to me, they will be willing to pay to phone my mobile. If they aren't willing to pay the extra, then it probably wasn't all that important. It's a simple, but effective method of call screening.

Re:I'm sick of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5468180)

On the other hand, there are people who love their cell phones, or at least I think so. Usually, they've got them out wherever they go. They whip 'em out even if they haven't received a call. Maybe it's a status thing? "Hmm, let's see how many messages I have waiting for me NOW..."

Re:I'm sick of... (1)

ttyRazor (20815) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468205)

I like pressing the buttons when keylock is on. It's just something to fidget with.

Re:I'm sick of... (2, Insightful)

s.a.m (92412) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468247)

I do like my cell phone because of the features it has.

I take my cell phone with me everywhere. It has become the primary phone to me. Sure I live at home with my parents atm, I'm saving up to buy a house so it's a nice way to save. But I'm never home.

If you're always on the go, then for anyone to get in contact with you, or vice versa then it comes in very hand.

Yes I'm one of the ones who "whip 'em out" even if no call came in because sometimes you can miss and not know it. I check it also because I rarely carry a watch with me. When it costs me $20 to get a band for a watch that costs $20 then I say screw it. My phone IS my watch and no it's not a status thing. I could care less what anyone else thinks about me or what I'm wearing etc, therefore the doing it for status is out the window.

Set some boundaries! (4, Insightful)

sczimme (603413) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468240)

I'm sick of everyone I know having the expectation that they can contact me anytime and anywhere.

This is not the technology's fault; this is YOUR FAULT. Tacitly or explicitly, you allowed this to happen. Set some ground rules with people and clarify expectations on both sides, e.g. "Don't call between 4 and 5 - that's Willy's time!". Blaming the phone itself is ridiculous.

Re:I'm sick of... (4, Insightful)

Ami Ganguli (921) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468266)

This is where the lack of SMS messaging in the U.S. leads to real differences.

In Europe real voice calls are relatively unusual (at least amongst my friends). You send text messages for short interactions and only call when you really need to talk.

The nice thing about text messages (like e-mail) is that they don't require any real-time response from the recipient. In a meeting? Don't feel like talking? Sleeping? No problem - the message will still be there later if you want to respond.

It also means that I don't feel guilty about turning off my ringer. If I don't feel like takin g a call, the caller can always send me a text message. If they don't bother then it probably wasn't important anyway.

Re:I'm sick of... (1)

bmh5c (587520) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468271)

Just because I have a cell phone doesn't mean that somebody "can contact me anytime and anywhere". They can certainly try, but I don't have to pick up my phone. I pick up maybe 25% of the calls I receive, even if I'm right there and could easily answer it. I don't like to reinforce the fact that I CAN be reached at anytime. If it's important, they'll leave a message, and if they don't leave one, then it must not have been that important. My cell phone is more of a portable answering machine than anything, and I like it that way.

PATH-E-TECH (3, Insightful)

Omikr0n (656115) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468072)

I find it very interesting that the not having a cell phone would remove you from the "social networks". A while ago I atteneded an excellent talk about how technology is ruining the human social structure. Namely, kids are growing up thinking that IM's and SMS's are *THE* way to communicate with other people. While this may be all fine and dandy since the technology is "cool", I think people are slowly becoming more and more anti-social. It decreases the quality of information received. Now everyone is being bombarded with all sorts of relevant and irrelevant "information" that clogs our minds and we no longer retain the ability to discern between what is important and what is not. Letting the battery die is the new taboo? PLEASE! How pathetic are we all becoming?

Re:PATH-E-TECH (3, Funny)

Montgomery Burns III (642155) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468102)

Concur. The virtualization of communication has in large part contributed to the loss of meaningful human communication. But, having said, that I am lame because I am posting electronically. So, I clearly don't know the solution to the problem.


Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5468110)

If you think communicating more efficiently results in being bombarded with irrelevant information, you're either talking to the wrong people, or being anti-social yourself.


Omikr0n (656115) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468128)

That is NOT what I am saying. I am saying that we are reducing most of our human contact down to little boxes that fit in the palm of your hand and go BEEP BEEP BEEP. Things that used to be a personal bond or link between two people are now reduced to "g2g ;-)". I say it needs to stop.

Re:PATH-E-TECH (2, Interesting)

tjansen (2845) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468201)

The main problem with people without mobile telephone is that it is so hard to meet them. A regular person is 8+ hours at work/school and thus more or less unreachable during that time. So the only way to meet them is to plan in advance, which makes things incredibly complicated. I usually don't know when I finish work the next day. And even if I think that I do, how can I contact the other person when I am coming late or cant come for some reason? What if we meet at a place that I have never been before and I don't know how to get there?
I hate meeting people without a (mobile) telephone, it's so incredibly complicated. And I can understand why they are isolated...


Bishop (4500) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468276)

ruining the human social structure.

Is technology ruining or changeing social structures? There is a difference. Email (and its lesser cousing IM) allows groups of friends to stay in contact despite constraints such as long distances, or the inability to meet in person. Cell phones allows instant communication regardless of geography. How are these tools, which promote communication, antisocial?

The Rules have Changed (5, Insightful)

Montgomery Burns III (642155) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468076)

I used to think that the strong and powerful were the ones with Cell phones, pagers, PDAs, etc. I now know that the truly powerful have others take care of such details. I am not numbered among the elite.

gotta remember this is a japanease (4, Insightful)

Archfeld (6757) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468081)

article, They are technology crazed in a way most westerners can only begin to imagine. I used to think I was a techno geek, until I went to Japan. Now I feel like a luddite sometimes. The devices and the infrastructure are just not here in the west.

Re:gotta remember this is a japanease (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5468134)

Depends on the western country. In 2001 95% of 15-24 years Finns had a cell phone. Not having one naturally disconnects you from other to some extent.

Re:gotta remember this is a japanease (1)

Archfeld (6757) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468215)

true, there may be 'many' of them, but not having been to Finland, I can only ask does their society revolve around the device ?

Re:gotta remember this is a japanease (2, Informative)

tjansen (2845) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468213)

It's not much different in Europe..

Disruption (1, Funny)

prof187 (235849) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468082)

By sending messages like "Can you talk on the phone now?" or "Are you awake?" text messagers spare each other the rude awakening and disruption of a sudden phone call.

Wouldn't it wake them up just as easily from the phone ringing when getting a text message as it would if they just got a phone call in the first place?

Re:Disruption- Make it vibrate! (1)

nadadogg (652178) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468104)

Not sure about older phones, but I have both my cell phones(personal and work), set to vibrate when i receive SMS. That way, if I am asleep, I wont be brought to ringing reality, or be interrupted in a meeting at work.

Re:Disruption- Make it vibrate! (1)

prof187 (235849) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468147)

ooh, i don't use sms so i wasn't aware you could set it differently from the phone. I know on mine that if I get voicemail, it just follows the ring style of whatever the phone is set to

We'll see who's laughing... (4, Funny)

Quaoar (614366) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468083)

...when everyone in Japan ends up with a mysterious head cancer.

Re:We'll see who's laughing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5468126)

If that would result in your laughter, you have one twisted sense of humour.

Re:We'll see who's laughing... (4, Funny)

SlashdotLemming (640272) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468129)

Don't worry, they'll adapt.
Brain tumors will become a new fetish.

New necessity (4, Insightful)

nadadogg (652178) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468087)

It is a new common assumpion that everyone has a cell phone. Thanks to digital networks, it is affordable to even the average joe to be connected at all times. They have long since eclipsed pagers as "the thing to have", making them, in some situations, more of a status symbol than as a way to stay connected. Pagers were at one time seen to be something carried by drug dealers and doctors, but never so with cellphones. This is probably due to the fact that everyone likes to have conversations, talking or by messaging. This trend is only going to continue, and get bigger and badder, hell, even smaller as well. I think that sums it up for me.

about letting the battery die (1)

adamruck (638131) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468088)

well... Ive done a little reading on rechargable batteries, and ive always heard that to make the battery charge last the longest, your sapposed to let the battery drain all of the way, then fully recharge the battery, another words letting the battery get half dead, then charge it up, would be the worst thing to do for it.

Can someone please correct me if Im wrong?

Re:about letting the battery die (2, Informative)

repsychler (571158) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468132)

It's not as important with newer batteries like Lithium ion as it was with NiCads.

Taboos through the ages... (1, Funny)

$$$$$exyGal (638164) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468096)

Taboos through the ages:
  • 14,000BC - Eating your dead parents.
  • 1200AD - Using your left hand to wipe your butt and eat your berries.
  • 1690AD - Having sex with your parents.
  • 2003AD - letting your cellphone battery die.
  • 2015AD - having 3d virtual sex with your parents.

Re:Taboos through the ages... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5468139)

Shouldn't answering the damn phone in the theater have been taboo before letting the batteries die? WTF!?

Incidentally, sex w/ the folks has been taboo at least since Oedipus.

Re:Taboos through the ages... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5468171)

So i suppose having sex with your dead parents while talking on a cell phone with your mouth full of shitty berries is wrong then too?

What is this world comming too!? :P

Leave my mobile phone at home (1)

angelgabriel (656945) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468099)

When I go into town I tend to leave my mobile phone at home. I only take it with me if I go away. I really don't see why I need to be contactable 24/7, especially not if I'm just popping out for a coffee.

Social what? (1)

Neophytus (642863) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468103)

I got a mobile phone when the price and charging was right for me. Before that I used my chargecard in payphones perfectly happily, the only disadvantage of that now is that less and less are being constructed.
I had my first phone for at least three years, and when I replaced it not last month it was not because it was obsolete but because I was fed up of some of the restrictions that now don't exist. Not being able to text straight to someone in my phonebook being one, lock not locking the power button another. I am confident I shall keep my current phone for a similar length of time. I don't keep up with the Joneses, I simply take onboard new technology when I feel the time is right.

Re:Social what? (1)

nadadogg (652178) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468122)

I had my old phone(a motorola startac) for about 8 months when i decided to change providers, due to my ALLTEL phone having problems with caller ID/voicemail when roaming, something my Cingular Ericsson t60 not having a problem with. I dont think ill upgrade phones again until people i know get phones with MMS(multimedia message), becuase getting a phone with MMS would be a waste as of now.

Here we go. (0, Troll)

SlashdotLemming (640272) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468106)

All the "I'm too good to own a television" people now get a chance post "I'm too good to own a cellphone"

Brace yourselves.
(Did I mention that I don't own a cellphone?)

Re:Here we go. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5468202)

I'm too sexy for my cell phone, too sexy for my cell phone, too sexy yeah!

Re:Here we go. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5468216)

I dont think that many amish people read /.

But the japanese, are, weird :) (3, Insightful)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468111)

I don't think anyone cares what a few yuppie Japanese do with their cell phones. Most people use them to make phone calls.

This isn't the "future" of society we're seeing, its just a waypoint on the path to complete ridiculousness began by an unhealthy obsession with social rules and kitschy gadgets.

information overload.... (2, Insightful) (562495) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468113)

serious information overload. when all you are getting is information, but you have NO time to decipher it, it is no good.....

Marshall (4, Funny)

bernz (181095) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468117)

I keep thinking how Marshal McLuhan said that our new inventions change the way we view the world. This is 'obvious' now, but was quite a new idea when he thought of it. In the 40s and 50s you "needed" to get a (land line) phone, then it was cars, email, and now cell phones. What's next? Is it simply a matter of keeping up with the Joneses?

I mean, d- He can give you - Do you hafta give it so loud? I mean, aren't you ashamed to pontificate like that? And - and the funny part of it is, M-Marshall McLuhan, you don't know anything about Marshall McLuhan's ... work!

[Overlapping] Wait a minute! Really? Really? I happen to teach a class at Columbia called "TV Media and Culture"! So I think that my insights into Mr. McLuhan - well, have a great deal of validity.

Oh, do yuh?


Well, that's funny, because I happen to have Mr. McLuhan right here. So ... so, here, just let me - I mean, all right. Come over here ... a second.

[To the man in line] I hear - I heard what you were saying. You - you know nothing of my work. You mean my whole fallacy is wrong. How you ever got to teach a course in anything is totally amazing.

[To the camera] Boy, if life were only like this!

Re:Marshall (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5468178)


Re:Marshall (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5468224)

It's a scene from Annie Hall [] .

Re:Marshall (1)

Night Goat (18437) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468214)

You're making no sense... or I'm not enough of a nerd to make heads or tails of what you just posted.

Oy... (1)

Judeccan (638549) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468144)

I'm fairly certain I'm the last man living in California who doesn't own a cell phone. Not that I feel bad about it mind you, but I get sick of people asking for my cell number and then giving me the "Are you Amish or something?" look when I tell them I not only don't have one, but wouldn't ever own one by choice.

The Jones'? (2, Funny)

Montgomery Burns III (642155) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468152)

More like keeping up with the Kim's

It definitely has grown quick (1)

Sk3lt (464645) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468169)

I remember around 5 years ago the only people who had a cell phone (or in Australia we call them mobile phones) were rich.

Nowadays I see kids who are 7 years old with the latest mobile phones.

It's all about prepaid, they just allow kids to manage there funds abit better.

Anyway in the future we will still have mobiles but the Net will be a standard on them, WAP is slowly getting more advanced.

What's next? The *real* Net (1)

GCP (122438) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468172)

I think what's next will be an always on connection to the Net, the medium thru which all electronic information ("phone" calls, "TV" and "radio" shows, live chat with your different social groups [family, office, etc.], the Web, traffic cams, baby monitors, etc.) will eventually be transported.

Make it so you have, and maintain, a high bandwidth Net connection no matter where you go (some places might incur a surcharge, of course), and then deliver everything else thru it, and it will be more important to daily life than electricity is now.

Re:What's next? The *real* Net (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5468183)

When that day comes, I will hate the Internet and everything it has given me.

I don't want the things I do to be "cool." I don't want my life to be "hip."

Being cool is shit. It's dumb. I will die a loser, and I will be happy that way.

Not Just Keeping Up (2, Insightful)

sfranklin (95470) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468174)

Cell phones don't fit into the "keeping up with the Jones" category - at least not any more. It's become practically a necessity in my line of work (software consulting), where out-of-state travel is the norm and client business is getting increasingly harder to obtain. Being constantly connected, even on the road, is something that clients want.

And outside the workplace, it makes a lot of sense to have a cell phone these days. You can usually find a rate plan nearly as good or even better than a land line, so cost isn't a major factor. My parents got rid of their land line entirely - and so would I, if the pizza people would deliver when I use my cell. :)

Re:Not Just Keeping Up (2, Insightful)

Sk3lt (464645) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468185)

Yeah I know exactly what you mean but that's one of the main reasons I hate my cell..

My Staff always call me up whenever I'm trying to sleep or am busy and ask the stupidest questions heh ;)

Re:Not Just Keeping Up (1)

jlechem (613317) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468194)

I agree, My wife and I gave up our land line completely and now just use our cell phones. A new cell phone would be nice but I don't need to get one. My friend has this kick ass Samsung that I would love to get but I don't see it as keeping up with the Joneses.

I see them as just being so damn convienent that they are taking over the world. And even though I only use my cell phone to call people I still talk and interact with a large amount of people in my day. I don't think person to person communication is going to stop anytime soon. If you IM someone it's because they are too far away to have a normal conversation with anyway.

I'm Sacrificing +2 Karma To Say You're A MORON (-1, Flamebait)

Bowie J. Poag (16898) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468181)

I predict the next "in thing to do" will be Brain Cancer. You get a cool new hair-doo, and get you get a ton of attention!

As someone who doesn't own a cell phone (and doesn't plan to) I find it hilarious that you people have been suckered into paying what amounts to a daily fee for simply communicating with your friends.

Think about it.

You're paying talk to your friends.

One more time.

You're paying talk to your friends!

Hell, if Nokia came out with a thing you strapped to your face like a gas mask and looked k-rad, its like you idiots would pay money to breathe "Nokia Air".

Cell phones don't belong in the hands of the people. They belong in the asses of people.. People lodged underneath the tires of the SUVs they've purchased.

Re:I'm Sacrificing +2 Karma To Say You're A MORON (1)

TheShadow (76709) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468199)

Umm... maybe you need to take the cell phone out of your ass.

I guess I'm just outta the loop. (1)

DaCool42 (525559) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468187)

Got no car. Got no cell phone. Don't want either. The day I get a cell phone is the day I'm given one for free.

I don't need a cell phone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5468190)

I barely get any landline calls. :-(

Texting before calling (4, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468193)

The social convention that you send a text message before calling is significant. What it really does is give phone calls subject lines.

Some communications systems have subject lines. Memos and E-mails do, but phone calls and letters don't. Voicemail usually doesn't, although some online voice chat systems do have introductory messages. Telegrams didn't have subject lines. SMS, arguably, is subject lines only.

Subject lines help enormously in managing information overload. Subject lines for phone calls could be a real win. Especially if you could input them by voice. Hmm.

Actually... (1)

Yo Grark (465041) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468197)

In my pocket of the world, people are recognizing that they can survive WITHOUT cell phones. They have become a BURDON instead of a necessity.

I think it was when Telco's starting charging $0.10 per text message, and rounding the seconds used up to the minute. People are finally sitting up and saying "whoah, this sucks".

I know at least 30 friends and family who have given up on their cell phones. Even the "pay as you go" is not worth it because the minutes expire.

If anyone needs me, they can call me at home or catch me at work. For emergencies I have a non-serviced cell phone (911 works WITHOUT subscribing to a service)

Yo Grark
Canadian Bred with American Buttering.

Re:Actually... (1)

Izeickl (529058) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468298)

In the UK Pay As You Go minutes used to expire aswell as per minute billing rather than seconds, but no longer, eventually telcos start to realise people wont put up with it and they become much friendlier.

just say it! (-1, Offtopic)

skydude_20 (307538) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468238)

Baaahh! Baaahh!
Come on, your all sheep, isn't it the thing to do these days, just say Baaahh! ?

how old are we? (5, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468239)

This just goes to show that anything invented after a person is 16 is weird, and anything invented after 30 is just wrong. Increasingly cell phones, SMS, etc are as necessary for teens and young adults as land line phones were for those of us that are much older. How many of young people without land phones had social lives in the 80's. How many young people without e-mail have social lives now.

Increasingly, especially for young people, dates are being made online. For friends, there is no reason to plan things out days in advance. Just call each other up at the spur of the moment and see who available to party. Is this good or bad? Not really either.

I have all this technology. People can request my attention using a number of methods. However, I do consider all of these requests. It is my choice to answer phone, reply to email, whatever. This pisses people off. Just because someone asks for my attention, am I for some reason required to drop everything and respond? I think not. Rather than showing our age and railing against rational uses of technology, I think we should accept those uses and teach how to use technology rather than have technology use you.

There was a time when people would come to your house, and, if there was time, you would put out some biscuits and make some tea and have a good sit down. This was obviously inefficient and complicated. However, I am still more inclined to talk to someone who would come to my apartment for a chat rather than randomly pick up phone and call me. OTOH, there are some conversations that are better on the phone and email. For instance, i remeber the first time a girl broke up with a friend of mine over email. It saved a useless conversation.

Fuck the Joneses (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5468258)

Fuck the Joneses

And their sorry trendy asses.

Socially, cellphones are for lonely extroverts. (4, Insightful)

wackybrit (321117) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468260)

It's entirely necessary if you're the sort of person who can't bear not to have contact with anyone human every 5 seconds.

Seriously, there are a lot of people like this, even in the nerd sector. They struggle to go for a few hours without calling someone, or having a conversation.. whereas lots of us are quite happy to sit hacking Perl or playing with servers until 4am.

So socially, no, I don't think phones are necessary, unless you're an extrovert who suffers from a loneliness complex.

Business-wise, however, cellphones are pretty damn useful. I can give an impression of being available 24/7 wherever I am, and that's worth a lot. A cellphone also allows me to easily call back into my work answerphone and catch up on calls. That's pretty useful stuff.

What I find odd... (4, Interesting)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468267) when I see friends together at a restaurant or something, and one or both of them spend the whole time yakking to someone else on their cell phone rather than talking to the person they're actually with.

The Ballad of Marshall McLuhan (0, Offtopic)

egoff (636181) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468278)

great song [] by The Vestibules []

Here we go again (1, Flamebait)

fondue (244902) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468279)

Please refer to the surrounding 200+ posts for variations of the same idiotic, luddite American bleating about how 'cellphones' are SO EVIL.

You're pathetic. What the fuck are you doing using a computer, let alone reading Slashdot, if you think useful, accessible and empowering advancements in technology should be scorned and feared?

Guess what guys? We've heard your fascinating anecdotes about how some lady in the grocery in Buttpoke, OH was shouting into her phone about the tins of tuna she was buying. Because you've been bleating about it like whining, inept little pissants since about 1994. Get over it. Mobile phones are here to stay, the more you carp about them the more of an inconvenient, unemployable, fat annoyance you will be seen as by the rest of the world.

Re:Here we go again (1)

egoff (636181) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468308)

But wait, I thought my President said that its okay to make spiteful, unthinking remarks without thinking first?

hmmm (1)

drfrog (145882) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468284)

i think the question this make me asks is..
who is asking us to buy these things and for what prupose?

ie is it always just invention.. or is there some social engineering happening

Great...More people bugging me with phones... (2, Insightful)

Dfiant (13407) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468289)

It's the interesting nature of communications technology--it becomes more valuable because everyone posesses it, rather than only a limited number of people having it. It's backwards from the "normal" type of service.

The social rules that are arising from it are very intriguing, though, indicative of how popular phones and messaging are. Increasing use of text messages as a "knock" seems to be something useful evolving out of it. Sometimes I wish people would IM me before calling so I don't get distracted. (Cooperative vs. Preemptive Dfiant-tasking. ;-) It 's good that people are starting to respect each others' time a little more.

Now can we please make the next taboo not having a hands-free headset while driving? I'd like to decrease the odds of me being splattered all over the pavement from the sociable idiot in the SUV near me who either a) drifts into my lane and almost sideswipes me, b) drives slow in the lefthand lane but fails to yield, or c) didn't know where that red light/stop sign/parking lot came from.

For some people it's some sort of unhealthy social addiction. If you can't just run down to the store briefly without yacking away to your friend while you sift through the items on the shelf, it's just a little weird and annoying. Especially if you have friends there standing next to you. But when I'm constantly seeing peoples' lives endangered, that's where I draw the line.

I'm glad it's the Japanese... (2, Insightful)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468297)

I, for one, don't like cell phones. I carry one or call one only when I have to.

I live in a college town and most of the college kids take them everywhere. I'm sick of hearing people take calls and talk on them at plays, movies and restaraunts. A student at the college told me that cell phones have destroyed the community atmosphere as the students are only interested in getting out of the class and getting on their cell phones.

I think by and large we'd be better off without them.

They'll all go blind... (1, Insightful)

vandan (151516) | more than 11 years ago | (#5468301)

I hate mobile phones. I get a sharp headache after using one for only 2 or 3 minutes. One of my sister's friend's nose started bleeding uncontrollably (also accompanied by a sharp headache) after using one for a few minutes. They blast all kinds of radiation through your head which is designed to go through some pretty though stuff - buildings, concrete, pretty much everything apart from solid metals. In particular they emit microwaves. These obviously travel though your brain and eyes. Not good. Even if they don't heat up your flesh a significant amount, they do cause damage. Microwaves shake water molecules violently - this is how they heat water. So basically all the cells in your head are being shaken violently - almost to the point of noticably raising their temperature, but not quite...
And then there is the fact that we don't really know the relationship between brain & consciousness. Do we really want to be throwing a spanner in the works in this way?
Mobile phones should be for emergencies only.

is the culture... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5468303)

The truth is Japanese culture is very different. I dont see a lot people playing with their ketais while taking a ride in the subway in the US.??
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