Geographers and technology

By Kelly Wakefield

Whilst doing a recent literature (and Internet) search on digital technologies, online social networking and Web 2.0 for my own research, I came across an article by Pfaff (2010) entitled Mobile Phone Geographies.  Pfaff (2010, p 1433) introduces the history of the mobile phone and speculates on the way in which this new technology (Motorola introduced the first widely available model in only 1983 in the USA), “modifies and negotiates our way of being in the world”.  Although little research has actually been conducted about the geographies of the mobile phone, it would be difficult to argue against the idea that a lot of geographical research is done on mobile phones.

In the past decade, the mobile phone has gone from being just a telephone, to SMS sender and now with the iPhone and Android software available, the mobile phone is nothing less than a mini computer.   Long train journeys and commuting have without doubt been changed by the possibility of accessing the Internet and email on mobile phones, extending the work place into the space of public transport.  Geographical discussions have looked at ‘re-thinking’ the object, that is to say, to look at the ways in which the material and immaterial intertwine.  With ever more modern technology constantly competing in the market, geographical approaches to research both about and on the mobile phone need to keep critically examining its changing pace.

Pfaff, J (2010), “Mobile Phone Geographies“, Geography Compass, Volume 4, Issue 10, Pages 1433-1447.

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