Benjamin Geer on 14 Nov 2000 21:00:54 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> cell/mobile phones

On Tue, Nov 14, 2000 at 12:15:19PM +1000, sean aylward smith wrote:
> all the research on _why_ young women are taking up mobile phones
> indicates the single most important reason for their adoption of
> mobiles is security, not to call their friends.

Clearly the respondents in such studies are lying.  You can't expect
people to admit to wanting to enhance their image, not even on a
questionnaire that maintains their anonymity.  The idea of security is
simply a way for them to justify (to themselves) the purchase of a
product that they desperately wanted anyway.  If security (and the
ability to call an ambulance in a rural area) were the main reasons
for having a mobile phone, people would leave them swiched off all the
time, and use them only once in a blue moon.  They would languish in
at the bottom of handbags, along with the pepper spray.

> the need to speculate on the mindstate of users is not so much an
> attempt to understand why mobile users use their mobiles as an
> example of the very marginal and niche nature of mobiles in the us
> that i have been suggesting.

That would make sense, except that I live in London now, and I hear
exactly the same ridiculous mobile-phone conversations in the street
here (the conversations that people are obviously having just as an
excuse to use their mobile) as in New York.

I'd love to see some research on the income distribution of mobile
phone owners.  My (very subjective) impression is that, in the UK,
they're almost exclusively middle-class, i.e. the same people who shop
at the Gap (which is likely to be right next door to a Vodafone shop).

Benjamin Geer

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