The sociology of the mobile phone

Raymond Chen

It has become obvious by now that the mobile phone has changed the way people interact. These two papers were forwaded to me by a colleague, whose summary I am shamelessly lifting from heavily.

First is a short paper titled Exploring the implications for social identity of the new sociology of the mobile phone.

The much more fascinating (and much longer) one is The Effects of Mobile Telephones on Social and Individual Life [PDF]. Read about Flight, Suspension and Persistence—the three ways people deal with incoming calls. Learn how to tell an Innie from an Outie. Set up an Approximeeting. Are you a swift, an owl, a dove, a sparrow, a starling, or a peacock? Pick up some UK mobile phone lingo:

  • “Gooseberry call”: calling someone during their date to get a progress report.
  • “Shagbile”: the mobile phone your partner doesn’t know about, used for affairs.
  • “Sad”: derogatory term for people who show off their phones. Enormous ritualization surrounds this.

“Shagbile” is the best. So Austin Powers.


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