John Armitage on Thu, 8 Nov 2001 12:45:52 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Sadie Plant: From the Stone Age to the Phone Age

[Mark Dery and I were speculating the other week as to the whereabouts ofSadie
Plant these days. Mark, everyone, here is at least part of the answer.  John.]


>From the Stone Age to the Phone Age

Groundbreaking New Global Study Explores Behavioral Effects of Mobile Phone

SCHAUMBURG, Ill., -- October 15, 2001 - From Beijing to Birmingham, Chicago
to Shanghai, mobile technology has made a radical difference in the way
society works and plays, according to a major new behavioral study, On the
Mobile, commissioned by industry leader, Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT).  From
men showing off their cell phones in public as symbols of status or even
virility, to teenagers competing with each other for the coolest new
technology, there is no denying that cell phones have permanently changed
the way people interact.

The ground-breaking study was conducted by leading academic Dr. Sadie Plant,
who was recently named one of TIME magazine's "People to Watch" in its
2000/2001 winter issue.  Dr. Plant traveled to nine cities around the world
to conduct research for On the Mobile: Chicago, Tokyo, Beijing, Hong Kong,
Bangkok, Peshawar, Dubai, London and Birmingham.  Using a combination of
personal interviews, field studies and observation, Dr. Plant identified a
variety of behaviors that demonstrate the dramatic impact that cell phones
are making as accessories to conduct life, love and work.

"Whatever it is called and however it is used, the cell phone alters the
possibilities and practicalities of many aspects of everyday life," says
Plant.  "The cell phone changes the nature of communication, and affects
identities and relationships.  It affects the development of social
structures and economic activities, and has a considerable bearing on its
users' perceptions of themselves and the world."

Some of the major findings from On the Mobile include:

*       Personal Power: Cell phones have given people a new-found personal
power, enabling unprecedented mobility and allowing them to conduct their
business wherever they go.
*       Gender Differences: Females tend to value their cell phone as a
means of expression and social communication, while males tend to use it as
an interactive toy.  However, evidence suggests that males are becoming far
more chatty and communicative as a result of cell phone use.
*       Male Status Symbols: Men have a tendency to display their cell
phones more proudly, using them to display their aggression in front of
other men, and almost like a mating ritual in front of women.
*       Stereotypes: Dr. Plant identified six distinctive types of cell
phone users based upon common traits and characteristics, and compared these
types with six different kinds of birds.  Owls, for example, tend to keep
their cell phone use to a minimum, making and taking only necessary calls,
while starlings tend to be more aggressive, pushing their way through crowds
while talking loudly on their cell phones.
*       Innies and Outies: There are two distinct types of cell phone users
- "innies" are quiet, discreet and unobtrusive with their mobile
conversations, while "outies" are louder and less concerned with the
perceptions of people around them.
*       Secret Phones: Many cell phone users keep a secret second phone to
conduct love affairs or clandestine business deals, or even just as a
hotline between friends.
*       The Thumb Generation: Texting has had a profound effect on the way
teenagers use their thumbs in some regions.  Because they are used to
tapping out numbers and messages with their thumbs, they now point and even
ring doorbells with their thumb instead of their forefinger.

As a brand that has been at the forefront of the mobile technology
Motorola commissioned this study to learn how people around the world are
exploiting this technology and how it has changed their lives.

 "Attitudes about cell phones are different in different cultures," said
Helen Normoyle, senior director of Consumer Insights for Motorola's Personal
Communications Sector. "The cell phone is helping people to cross borders -
both physical and cultural. The ever-evolving changes in the way it is used
may tell us much about the changing nature of the world and its cultures in
the future."

Mobile technology, specifically the use of cell phones, has become an
integral part of modern life around the world.  On the Mobile provides a
detailed first look at how this technology has radically influenced human

For further information, an interview with Dr. Sadie Plant or copy of the
report, please contact:

Sue Frederick
Motorola, Inc.
(847) 523-6555

Dan Shaw
Hill and Knowlton
(323) 966-5668

A complete online media kit is available at
#  #  #

Background on the author
Sadie Plant was born in Birmingham, UK in 1964, and read Philosophy at
Manchester University. She graduated with a First Class Honours degree in
1985, and completed her PhD in 1989. After working as Post-doctoral Research
Assistant at Queen Mary and Westfield College, she was appointed Lecturer in
Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham in 1990. Her first book,
The Most Radical Gesture, The Situationist International in a Postmodern
Age, was published by Routledge in 1992. In 1995, she was appointed Research
Fellow at the University of Warwick, where she established the Cybernetic
Culture Research Unit.

In 1997, she left the University of Warwick to write full-time. Zeros and
Ones, Digital Women and the New Technoculture, was published by Fourth
Estate in London, and Doubleday in New York, and her most recent book,
Writing on Drugs, was published in 1999 by Faber and Faber in London, and in
2000 by Farrar Straus and Giroux in New York. Sadie Plant has published
articles in publications as varied as the Financial Times, Wired, Blueprint,
and Dazed and Confused. Her work has been discussed in much of the UK press
and several overseas newspapers and journals. Most recently she was named as
one of the "People to Watch" in the Winter 2000/2001 issue of Time.

MOTOROLA and the Stylized M Logo are registered in the US Patent & Trademark
Office.  All other product or service names are the property of their
respective owners. )Motorola, Inc. 2001

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