[Air-L] Where Are You?

niels van doorn nielsvandoorn at gmail.com
Wed Dec 19 13:44:06 PST 2007

my two cents:

i think it's exactly the different geographical locations of users that
makes mobile communication so popular. people want to share their physical
locations with others exactly because they are not in the same place, and
mobile internet/telephony enables them to do just that: to give their
conversational partner a sense of physical context. this information is
vital for mobile communication, which does not break down geographical
limitations in a physical sense and, as such, does not make any geographical
destination available on 'speed dial'. this is not star trek. the fact that
we can easily converse over long distances in real time does not mean
physical location has lost its key role in providing interactional context.


niels van doorn
phd candidate
amsterdam school of communications research (ASCoR)

On Dec 19, 2007 9:31 PM, Dominic Pinto <dominic.pinto at ieee.org> wrote:

> James Watt wrote:
> > At 01:12 PM 12/19/2007, Barry Wellman wrote:
> >
> >> I recently did an interview with a smart reporter, Eric Weiner, from
> >> NPR (US National Public Radio). In it, I opined that one of the most
> >> prevalent Qs when people talk on mobile/cell phones is "Where are you"?
> >>
> >
> > I don't know the facts of this case, but it does raise an intriguing
> > question in my mind: If ubiquitous communication breaks down
> > geographical limitations, as many have assumed, why would a question
> > about physical location be the most prevalent thing people ask? Why
> > would it matter where you are if all geographic locations are 2
> > seconds away on speed dial? I have some data-free suspicions, but I'd
> > be interested in others' ideas.
> Anecdotally, but fun: a friend reported when on a trip (flight?) on the
> London Eye that fellow travellers were excitedly calling up their
> friends and screeching where do you think I am! And presumably then
> sending pretty pictures of London from n feet above the Thames.
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