Posts by michaelfraser

Are mobile phones turning us into anti-social individuals?

17 November 2010

Applications on mobile devices – are they turning us into anti-social individuals? How many applications are there now? There is no point in counting, as more will be created before the day is out. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, FourSquare are many of the current forms of social networking mobile applications turning us into a group of anti-social individuals, lacking the proper social skills; similar to “hoodies” for the 21st Century. Head down, feverishly tapping away on your device, not paying careful attention to what you are doing, or what is around you, for the need to be kept up-to-date with the latest information. Companies, in particular, now see the benefit of being able to do business within the mobile marketplace in a blog written by Raam Thakrar, the CEO of Touchnote He raised a number of key areas of benefit for the SME marketplace in "Taking advantage of mobile phone technology" with one being M-Commerce. He believes it will only be a matter of time for customers to make safe transactions on their mobile phone as the mobile phone is the only form of technology they have close to them at all times. However the issue of security is raised as mobile phones does not offer the same level of protection as a computer when buying online is concerned, plus it needs individuals to be confident of making these purchases in this manner, despite high levels of physical theft or misuse.

The invention of Smart phones and variations of iPads means a new big juicy screen, clarity to write what you want when you want, turning individuals into mobile businesses, able to have the power of a PC in their hand. From a social networking aspect, people are able to interact through recording, uploading and updating information or content to view and receive vital information then comment on without the need of powering up a computer. However, with the ability to update details, are we missing out on vital information in the real world? Lets have a look at some o the drawbacks of the "social mobile devices":

Windows 7 Phone Ad

With innovations like FourSquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places people are eager to “check in” on a mobile device to a variety of places and venues to gain badges and rewards for unlocking new venues and places of interest. This could be a great thing until you start adding “friends” or worse the person in your “relationship” as they will be able to track you easily, especially when you have to “work late” on that “important brief for the boss by the end of the week”!

Spelling anyone?

Here’s a great test. How badly has your hand writing suffered over time since you have been using a computer? What about spelling? Do you find that you use more in the way of “text language” when talking to people instead of full sentences? (Cheers m8! C U l8r! :o ) ) Is this attributed to the amount of characters Twitter allows per tweet, or just a convenient way to get a long message across in abbreviations.

The “Cheers” Factor

Remember Cheers? The Boston bar where “Everybody knows your name”? Like any local, the idea of interacting with people from long-standing relationships has been replaced with requests from total strangers just because they frequent the same establishment. The idea of being socially accepted using this means your circle of friends has grown immensely, even though there is nothing in common with that person apart from frequenting the same venue.

So, what about the future?

Virtua Friends or “iM8s” may be a great acquisition in the short-term through these various applications, however there is nothing like leaving new mobile phone technology alone for a while to gain a sense of reality in the “real world”. Meeting someone in person provides a different set of emotions, a real relationship through having some kind of history or background:

Window 7 Phone

T-Mobile advert

Overcoming any stress-related mobile phone abuse

The number of mobile phone and hand related injuries will continue to rise from the extension of texting, so here are some exercises to overcome any pains that may surface

  • Tap each finger with the thumb of the same hand. Repeat five times.
  • Pull your thumb firmly with the other hand. Repeat five times.
  • Wrap an elastic band around the tips of fingers and thumb and open your hand against the resistance. Repeat 20 times.
  • Palms down wrap an elastic band around each thumb and force apart. Repeat 20 times.
  • Tap the palm and back of your hand on your thigh as quickly as you can. Repeat 20 times.
  • Massage thumb web, back of forearm and front of forearm. Two minutes.
  • Press and rub in a circular motion the painful nodules in those muscles. Thirty seconds for each nodule.
  • Reach up high with both arms and shake your hands. Reach down low with both arms and shake. Repeat three times.
  • Arms at 45 degrees, squeeze them behind you.
  • If it still hurts after a week of doing exercises, wrap an ice pack on sore hand and arm parts. Do not put ice directly on the skin but wrap in a thin cloth or piece of kitchen roll. Ten minutes on, 10 minutes off. Repeat three times.

More and more businesses are looking towards new technology to keep people informed of the latest news and information, possibly due to these devices being readily available for mass consumption. Most noticeably, the BBC wanted to close a number of their websites, and instead channel it through iPhone applications, in a blog created by Rory Cellan-Jones entitled “Governement apps: a case for the axe?” So, just as we are getting our heads out of the sand like ostriches, there seems to be a movement to get us looking down again to interact with the world.

With that in mind, I’m going to call my mate and arrange to meet up in the pub… then log in to Foursquare to “check in” to the venue we’re going to meet up in, and do the same on Facebook and Twitter. If I need people to know how popular I am…

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