The Use of Mobile Technology in Society

People use mobile technology in many various ways. In observing many people in the Thompson Library cafe on a Sunday afternoon, it was evident that mobile technology was used almost constantly by them. Hardly anyone in the space was without a phone of some kind. The younger the person looked, the more likely it seemed that they had their mobile device in their hands. The cafe in Thompson Library seemed like the prime location to observe people using their mobile technology.

Not only is it a busy place so there would be many people to obsverve, but people were probably more inclined to use their phones there rather than if I had been observing people on the upper levels of the library. Regarding methods used in this observation study, I found a cozy corner to watch from. I blended in with the surroundings, and tried not to make it obvious that I was watching everyone use their phones. I had a notebook and pen with me, so I could write things down that really stood out to me while I was observing.

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Keeping in mind the questions proposed about social behavior and mobile technology, I observed many things while “people-watching” in the cafe. For instance, I noted that many of the people sitting alone at the tables used their phones with their hands instead of talking on them. They would also be sitting at a table, people-watching themselves, and look down at the their phones occasionally to check the time. For the most part, the people that were alone, did not talk on the phone.

If they did, they spoke quietly as to not disturb the people around them. When being asked what they wanted to order, people generally stopped using their phones but resumed after talking. People in groups standing in the line waiting for food also used their phones to check the time or to send text messages. In one group of three people I observed, though, they stopped their conversation entirely when one of the members looked down at their phone. I think they did this out of annoyance.

In some situations, group dynamic seemed to change dramatically when people used their phones in the middle of conversations, while groups were unaffected by the use of mobile technology. It is so interesting to see the way people depend on their phones when they are in public places. It is almost as if their phones are a crutch, keeping them from experiencing any kind of awkward situation, whether it be a lull in conversation or making eye contact with a stranger. The younger generations seem to be more attached to their phones, while the older the people are, the less they seemed to use them.

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