Hang Up and Drive
November 15, 2005 8:46 AM   Subscribe

Did You Pet Your Phone Today? An examination of the effects of ubiquitous communication.
posted by yerfatma (20 comments total)
 
Maybe [via]. I opened it so long ago I don't remember. Additionally, it's from 2004, so some of the "cutting edge" in it has dulled a bit.
posted by yerfatma at 8:51 AM on November 15, 2005


Interesting article--I don't have time to read it in its entirely right now, but I will later. Thanks.
posted by Prospero at 9:46 AM on November 15, 2005


No, but I did phone my pet today.
posted by JeffK at 9:50 AM on November 15, 2005


This is an odd sentence:

[...] as one wireless industry analyst recently told Slate, “some time between 2010 and 2020, everyone who wants and can afford a cell phone will have one.

Isn't that the case already? Leave out the "and can afford" and it's an interesting prediction, but "can afford" is such a relative concept, that the statement can IMO readily be taken to already be true today.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:09 AM on November 15, 2005


Great article. The behavior of a cell phone user compared to an insane person is fascinating. Walking down the street, talking to yourself, completely disconnected from the shared reality of those around you, in a reality if your own making. We may logically understand it, but it still violates the rules of normal social behaviour. It's just like an insane person, a bi-polar who switches on and off, in and out of reality.
posted by stbalbach at 10:39 AM on November 15, 2005


Thank you, yerfatma, great article and something I've spent much time thinking about lately.
posted by Frisbee Girl at 10:57 AM on November 15, 2005


It's just like an insane person, a bi-polar who switches on and off, in and out of reality.

And yet, having been yelled at more than once for ssshing someone in a movie theater, it may not be too long before we're (perceived as) the insane ones.

Leave out the "and can afford" and it's an interesting prediction

Agreed. That was how I read it originally, so it's interesting to see it for the equivocation it is. I don't think it's unrealistic that in 2020 cell phones could be available to anyone who wanted one. The landfills of the West will be full of old phones. Assuming the networks don't change, those phones could find a secondary/ teritary/ etc. market.
posted by yerfatma at 11:13 AM on November 15, 2005


looooooooooooong article, but good. thanks!
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 12:36 PM on November 15, 2005


Very very good article. Makes a lot of points that I've been thinking about and talking to others about lately, especially as regards my own aversion to cell phones: I've got one, but I actually DO use it only for emergencies and when I'm not in a public space.

Before I got my phone, when people asked me (incredulously) why I didn't have one, I would say that I didn't like how it was destroying our society's ability to communicate with each other. The reasoning I gave for that was exactly what this article said, so thanks for giving me something to point people to!
posted by Fontbone at 1:41 PM on November 15, 2005


Some of the claims in the article seem a bit over the top. For example, "The Wall Street Journal recently reported on cell phones that will feature [...] calculators, alarm clocks". Now a mirrored compact I could believe, but an alarm clock? Never!
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:20 PM on November 15, 2005


I did pet my rock today.
posted by fixedgear at 2:35 PM on November 15, 2005


Fairly interesting article, but it already seems so dated, even if it was only written a year ago. For those who think it's too long, skip down to "Spectator Sport." That's where it finally gathers some steam.

Hands-free or not, PLEASE don't drive and talk on cell phones. The hands-free thing is not it at all. The problem is placing your attention in two very different places, while driving a two-ton deadly weapon. I was hit and almost killed by a driver on a cell phone.

Why do these cell phone conversations bother us more than listening to two strangers chatter in person about their evening plans or listening to a parent scold a recalcitrant child?

I might be different in this regard, but cell phone convos don't bother me any more than in-person convos. It's all about the volume.

I think most people get upset b/c they can only hear one side of the convo and they want to hear both. (Can I say "convo" one more time?)

I'm with Fontbone. I got a pre-paid phone recently for a trip where my girlfriend insisted I be reachable, but that's about all I've ever used a cell phone for.

The thing that bothers me most about cell phones is the ability for people to change plans at the last minute possible. I like to make a plan and stick to it, or change it well before, i.e. "I'll meet you in front of the library at 4pm." Giving everyone cell phones allows someone to change those plans at 3:59 and not feel bad about it.

I do think it's polite to go outside of a restaurant or store when using a cell phone. I was amazed in New York City last year to watch two guys eating dinner together, but talking on their cell phones to other people for literally the entire meal. Bizarro.

Thanks for the good read, yerfatma.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:41 PM on November 15, 2005


I think most people get upset b/c they can only hear one side of the convo and they want to hear both.

I read something last year (maybe in the New Yorker) that's repeated here: it's the fact people are happy to take public space and turn it into a private space in a way that can be very uncomfortable for everyone but them. It speaks to me-first-ism that's making it a pain to go out in public anymore.
posted by yerfatma at 3:15 PM on November 15, 2005


I think most people get upset b/c they can only hear one side of the convo and they want to hear both.
I have always thought that this is at the heart of many complaints about cell phones - we want to stickybeak, but only hearing one side of a conversation is very frustrating, especially if it sounds like a juicy one. Other than that, it is really no different to a face-to-face conversaton being carried out in public. The only other difference is that people tend to talk louder on a cell phone than in person or on a land-line phone, which is just as bizarre as talking loudly to someone who has poor English and equally common.

Excellent article.
posted by dg at 4:28 PM on November 15, 2005


“If you were stranded on a desert island and could have one thing with you, what would it be?” The choices: “Matches/Lighter,” “Food/Water,” “Another Person,” “Wireless Phone.”

Umm... that sounds like a no-brainer to me. Which one of these four choices would give you the best chance of being rescued quickly?
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:31 PM on November 15, 2005


mrgrimm: The thing that bothers me most about cell phones is the ability for people to change plans at the last minute possible. I like to make a plan and stick to it, or change it well before, i.e. "I'll meet you in front of the library at 4pm." Giving everyone cell phones allows someone to change those plans at 3:59 and not feel bad about it.

Yes! This bothers me so much. There was a time--and I'm only 25, but I remember it--when I could make a plan with someone and know that what we decided is what would actually happen. Now, every plan seems much more tentative: well, we'll do that, unless someone calls me with something better. It feels like such an abuse of social trust, but it's the way that a good chunk of people seem to be living their lives now.
posted by Fontbone at 5:42 PM on November 15, 2005


Which one of these four choices would give you the best chance of being rescued quickly?

Your vision of a deserted isle has more cell towers than mine. Plus, piss on those roaming charges.
posted by yerfatma at 5:53 PM on November 15, 2005


The behavior of a cell phone user compared to an insane person is fascinating

I would say that this is most applicable to people who use "handsfree" cellphones. Oooooh those people bother me. Forfucksake, they look like they're talking to themselves!

It's becoming harder and harder to determine who the real crazies are, and that can be dangerous.
posted by afroblanca at 7:12 PM on November 15, 2005


Umm... that sounds like a no-brainer to me.

yeah, but a restaurant is not a desert island. and being prepared for desert island life is not analogous to being prepared for the movie theater, where another person or food/drink is right nice to have along. interesting reading, thanks!
posted by carsonb at 8:32 PM on November 15, 2005


[...] as one wireless industry analyst recently told Slate, “some time between 2010 and 2020, everyone who wants and can afford a cell phone will have one.

Isn't that the case already?


And even those of us who don't want one have one. My sister works for Verizon. I now have a cell phone. Which, I admit, comes in handy at times, but I wouldn't have bought one on my own.

Now a mirrored compact I could believe, but an alarm clock? Never!

I'm not sure how much you're kidding about the alarm clock part. That's the most useful feature for me on my phone. I take a nap at lunch and my phone rings to wake me up on time.
posted by INTPLibrarian at 8:57 AM on November 16, 2005


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