The mobile phone (and texts) as a taken for granted mediation

Richard Ling

    Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterBook chapterResearchpeer-review


    The mobile phone has entered our lives and has settled in for a long stay. It has become a taken for granted part of our daily lives and established a logic of use. Early on we discovered that it was convenient for coordinating everyday activity, for giving us a sense of safety and for generally getting facilitating our everyday lives. As the level of adoption rose in different countries, it was less and less common for people not to have a mobile phone. Indeed as the level of adoption increased, there was a type of social pressure on the remaining people to use one. In a sense, the non-users were living outside the circle of social mediation. This meant that there was a type of social exclusion, and also that there was (and is) a social inefficiency when trying to organize social interaction. There is also a self-reflexive dimension. When working out our daily activities, we make the assumption that others are available via the mobile phone. At least in many parts of the world, we assume that the person we are picking up at the bus or the train station has a mobile phone and that they can tell us exactly when and where they will arrive. We assume that the friend who we will meet at the movies is reachable beforehand so that we can micro-coordinate. If this form of mediation is not available, we may subject the person to mild forms of reproach. This indicates that the mobile telephone has become a social mediation technology that is taken for granted. Just as mechanical time keeping is taken for granted in our coordination of social interaction, mobile communication is now taking on some of the same dimensions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationTheories of the Mobile Internet : Materialities and Imaginaries
    EditorsAndrew Herman, Jan Hadlaw, Thom Swiss
    Publication date2014
    ISBN (Print)9780415731003
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


    • Mobile phone adoption
    • Social mediation
    • Micro-coordination
    • Social exclusion
    • Communication technology


    Dive into the research topics of 'The mobile phone (and texts) as a taken for granted mediation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this