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The mobile society: A more mobilised society?

From protest movements and attempts at direct democracy to the most intimate human interactions, mobile communications are having an impact on everyone's lives. But how far and how deep is the change?


Mobile phones have gone from being a simple means of communication to a tool with multiple applications that have become an essential part of our professional and personal lives. As such, the advance and confluence of technology allows us to consider new perspectives through which we can understand the processes of change that are occurring in our interconnected society – other forms of interaction or focuses of interest in an environment in which it seems that everything has yet to be discovered. Mobile technologies have introduced a different dimension into social life amid a complex web of human relations in everything from politics and business to the closest and most intimate human communication.

At the same time, in a society based on communication and interaction structured around ever-increasing globalization in telecommunications we are also seeing a segmentation occurring in the interests of citizens. Internet has been the driving force behind the changes in the way we communicate. Putting to one side the debate about whether this is an evolution or a revolution, one reality stands out: we are now able to connect to each other and interact in different ways. Social groups and individuals are organizing themselves and making plans with new criteria, references and strategies. The recent emergence of citizens movements such as those involved in the Arab Spring revolutions, the 15-M protests or Democracia 4.0 in Spain have found in cyberspace a place to meet supported by social networks that help with organisation and motivation.

Looking back to Irwin Winkler’s 1995 film The Net, there is no doubt that society acts very differently in David Fincher’s 2010 film The Social Network, set in the world of today. Digitalization, hypertext, the miniaturization of electronic components, multimedia, interactivity through social networks, wireless communications and cheaper and easier to use devices and software have created the mobile internet and a new mobile reality.

Mobility and mobile access to the internet has created the opportunity to construct an interconnected society, based, precisely, on the principles that have allowed the internet to advance: universal, accessible and open access. Studies published in Spain by the Documentation Sciences Foundation reflect the impact of mobile technologies on the lives of citizens and organisations, but many questions remain about what this impact means: How are citizens using the new technology resources at their disposal? Could the mobile society generate new methods of participation that have real influence on political power? Where is the point of balance between market forces and the use of new mobile methods of communication? And, one question that should not leave us indifferent, is a digital divide on the horizon?

This article has been translated from Spanish with the author’s permission. Read the original Spanish version here.

Este artículo ha sido traducido del español con el permiso del autor. Lea el original aquí.

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Published: Dec 14 2011
Category: Iberoblog
Republication: Creative Commons, non-commercial
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