The humble hand-held mobile phone was once a weighty, difficult giant, requiring a strong-man team to lug a suitcase back and forth between appointments, collaborating with meteorologists and engineers to ensure working order. As technology caught up to ambition and the vision for a completely transportable conduit was realised, the mobile phone has become the lynch-pin of our lives. We live closely with our phones, they rest on the table beside us, ready to spring into action as an alarm sounds and reminders scroll across the screen, read by a perky automation. Our friends check-in and transmit micro stories and snippets of lives on the other side of town or the flipside of the world – the smart phone is the ultimate tool, a fast escape and an ever-growing repository of knowledge and commentary, just waiting to be tapped.
The 4G Unease
Do you hate being without your iPhone or Android? Are you reflexively checking your messages now, cruising Facebook or posting your morning coffee on Instagram? In early 2013, Time Magazine surveyed five thousand people in the US, Brazil, South Korea, the UK, China and India to discover more about our burgeoning digital identities. 1,666 participants admitted to feeling anxious and irritable if parted from their devices for even a snatch of time – our social imperatives has been reprogrammed, removing the emphasis off group interactions and physically tangible relationships, to an online presence, completely accessible and open to judgement. Even when overseas and delving into the forgotten wonders of a new destination, we are rarely without a TravelSim. Our appetite for validation and interaction can only be satisfied by liberal servings of status updates, notes, memes, jokes, clips and blog opinions.
The News Cycle
As we demand more news, more images, more information, without limits or time-lapse, the face of several industries have transformed as a result. News reporting started out as a seven day cycle, moving onto three and finally, twenty-four hours. Information and events were viewed, documented, approved and printed before the sun peaked over the hills and the morning traffic rolled toward the CBD. Not anymore. We can no longer wait twenty-four hours for the latest updates. So what becomes of the paperback giants? News outlets are starting to fall out of favour, as blogs and opinion sites wire the pulse of the common people and report facts alongside embellishments, with a range of biases and perspectives to take with a morning tea. The mobile phone has transformed the news cycle into something more immediate. The news cycle has no choice but to chug along, struggling to catch-up and reconcile long established principles with a revolutionary notion of free information.
The world is integrating new technologies, as the original digitised generation moves into corner offices and ground-breaking RND labs, adopting connected alternatives for everything, from social interaction to recruitment. At first, recruiting off the internet seems risky – after all, you can be whoever you want to be online. Screening a candidate and assessing online profiles against application documents is a common sense action – a public profile can reveal the ethics, beliefs and choices an individual makes, assisting the decision maker in envisioning this person in the advertised role. Of course, this should only be used as a first step, judging an applicant solely on their social media presence not only opens up doors of discrimination, but raises several ethical quandaries in itself. Be careful.
One in four people check their phone every forty minutes. Another one in five can’t resist a quick glance every ten hand rotations. How are you connected? And what would you give up to stay that way?
Written by Emma Jane