Has the cell phone forever changed the way people communicate? The mobile phone is used for “real time” coordination while on the run, adolescents use it to manage their freedom, and teens “text” to each other day and night. The mobile phone is more than a simple technical innovation or social fad, more than just an intrusion on polite society. This book, based on world-wide research involving tens of thousands of interviews and contextual observations, looks into the impact of the phone on our daily lives. The mobile phone has fundamentally affected our accessibility, safety and security, coordination of social and business activities, and use of public places. Based on research conducted in dozens of countries, this insightful and entertaining book examines the once unexpected interaction between humans and cell phones, and between humans, period. The compelling discussion and projections about the future of the telephone should give designers everywhere a more informed practice and process, and provide researchers with new ideas to last years.

Key Features

*Rich Ling (an American working in Norway) is a prominent researcher, interviewed in the new technology article in the November 9 issue of the New York Times Magazine. *A particularly "good read", this book will be important to the designers, information designers, social psychologists, and others who will have an impact on the development of the new third generation of mobile telephones. *Carefully and wittily written by a senior research scientist at Telenor, Norway's largest telecommunications company, and developer of the first mobile telephone system that allowed for international roaming.


mobile phone and other information appliance interaction designers, product designers, social psychologists and others involved with HCI and the design field

Table of Contents

Preface Acknowledgments Chapter 1: Introduction Chapter 2: Making Sense of Mobile Telephone Adoption Chapter 3: Safety and Security Chapter 4: The Coordination of Everyday Life Chapter 5: The Mobile Telephone and Teens Chapter 6: The Intrusive Nature of Mobile Telephony Chapter 7: Texting and the Growth of Asynchronous Discourse Chapter 8: Conclusion: The Significance of Osborne's Prognosis Appendix: Data Sources Used in the Analysis of Mobile Telephony Endnotes Bibliography Index


No. of pages:
© 2004
Morgan Kaufmann
Print ISBN:
Electronic ISBN:

About the editor

Rich Ling

Rich Ling is a senior research scientist at Telenor, Norway’s largest telecommunications company, where he researches issues associated with new information technology and society. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Udine, Italy. Ling has published numerous articles and has organized and participated in numerous international conferences. He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Colorado, Boulder in his native U.S.

Affiliations and Expertise

Telenor, Oslo, Norway


" important, accessible book on mobile telephony that is well worth reading." - J.R. McNeill, Interactions "This powerful book illustrates the dramatic changes that have been provided by the social dynamics of the cell telephone and the ways that many long-held customs are changing: What is polite? How important is the time for a meeting when participants reschedule continually? What do we mean by a community or social group? And why are those short, inconvenient-to-type text messages more common and more important than voice conversations? Rich Ling provides a compelling examination of the real impact of mobile telephony. It's not about technology, it's about people. We need more of these kinds of studies." --Don Norman, Co-Founder, Nielsen Norman Group and author of Emotional Design. "For perhaps the first time in history, it is possible to gain scientific insights into the social impact of a new communication medium in the medium's infancy. Rich Ling combines scientific rigor, penetrating insight, and attention to an extraordinarily timely subject—the social impact of mobile communications. His ideas about "micro-coordination" and "the softening of time" are fundamental. Ling has big ideas about what the new world of always-on and ubiquitous media mean to our daily lives, but he's not an armchair theorist — he was smart and fortunate enough to observe the earliest adopters of mobile telephones first-hand." --Howard Rheingold, Rheingold Associates and author of The Virtual Community. "Rich Ling probes the way the mobile phone influences lives, talk and interaction. His carefully documented investigations paint an authoritative picture that will command continuing interest . . .an impressive achievement." --James E. Katz, Ph.D., Professor of Communication, Rutgers