Having moved from London to the Mid-west we are very aware of the impact of location on life-style, the switch from public transport to the car being a major example. In this context, I was interested to read this paragraph by Castells et al in Mobile communication and society: a global perspective which I am reading quickly to help me address a writing obligation in which I am currently delinquent ;-)

Another critical difference between national systems is related to the predominant transportation method: in the States, for example, where most people drive their own cars, certain types of mobile communication activities (such as SMS) are less viable. In contrast, where public transport is the main means of movement (as in parts of Asia and Europe) people have a greater ability to use wireless technologies on-the-go and consequently develop expertise faster. [Mobile communication and society: a global perspective, p.37]

I sometimes wonder about reading in this regard, but have not done the work to see if there has been any research about the correlation between 'predominant transportation method' and reading levels. For example, I would read a newspaper on my way to work when I traveled by train or bus; I spend less time reading newspapers now that I drive.

Comments: 0

Apr 20, 2008
Andy Havens

Interesting. I just read a report from Pew about how digital, mobile computing activities (i.e., using your cell phone for things other than voice talk)are being taken up faster by folks who don't have access to the Internet on a desktop. Makes perfect sense, as we're now at a point where just about every mobile phone has some digital functions (text messaging, photos, mobile Web), and where mobile phone costs have come down so much compared to even 5 years ago.

I wonder if/how these two factors will change the way in which different media are accessed and created by different groups. If, for example, the less afluent are more likely to be involved in mobile computing, will they be more comfortable with mobile-specific aps over time, and creation functions (live geo tagging, for example) that are more logically related to mobile computing. That is... will we have some kind of an economic divide between that which is created/consumed by desktop, and that by mobile.

Sometimes people who can't afford desktops and the Web also can't afford cars and take public transport, eh? More time to read on the bus, and more time to Twitter, take pics and micro blog.