By Mary Chayko
Seems to be on the social implications of getting consistent entry to others via cellphones, instant pcs, and different digital units.
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Extra resources for Portable Communities: The Social Dynamics of Online and Mobile Connectedness
We are easily drawn into stories that have no deﬁnitive “end” and are propelled perpetually into the future. Discussion “threads” and community narratives can be continued almost endlessly, tapping into our human afﬁnity for open-ended stories—narratives into which we can mentally insert ourselves long-term. ” One of my interviewees likened the format of these exchanges to a “soap opera”: When [one of the members of our list] lost his wife, that hurt, because he had written so much about their struggle.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that we can’t tell the difference between reality and fantasy. It means that we have become so expert in forming sociomental relationships that we can be intrigued with them and give them meaning without necessarily confusing them with face-to-face relationships. In fact, we have become so good at this that we are able to see our favorite ﬁctional characters as simultaneously real and constructed. Watching a movie does not confuse us as to the difference between the lifeworld and the ﬁctional world; we can enjoy, even feel somewhat immersed in, both, simultaneously.
We share a kind of cognitive space that I call sociomental space. Sociomental space is the cognitive analog to physical space. It is a kind of mental habitat where portable communities “gather” and where cyberspace can be said to be situated. As writer and cyber-futurist Bruce Sterling describes it: Cyberspace is the “place” where a telephone conversation appears to occur. Not inside your actual phone. . Not inside the other person’s phone. . The place between the phones. The indeﬁnite place out there, where the two of you, two human beings, actually meet and communicate .
Portable Communities: The Social Dynamics of Online and Mobile Connectedness by Mary Chayko