Chapter 4: Mobile New Media
The sites listed for this chapter are sites that you could reasonably view and search from your mobile devices (Android or iOS), or Apps that are available for those platforms.
First of all, what could you find if you take the linking strategies from the previous three chapters and apply them here? On your mobile device, try doing a Google search to find some of the authors and concepts in this chapter. Try using Google Scholar. Can you use Siri or Google Now (on newer Apple and Android handsets) to do a voice search?
The process of collecting and maintaining a set of news links—the “RSS” feeds are an example of this—is made possible in mobile settings with applications such as Feedly. Feedly allows to you assemble a set of news sources, or import a list from other applications, and then gives you the latest news in an easy-to-view format that works on your mobile device.
Delicious, a free bookmark manager, is another useful tool for mobile users. I have created a bookmark set for the course using Delicious and have made it publicly available. You can also import all of the RSS feeds mentioned here—plus many, many more—from links at the end of this page.
One of the journals mentioned in Chapter 3, Mobile Media & Communication, is dedicated to the topics from this chapter, but most of the other journals mentioned earlier also cover mobile topics from time to time.
The social media agency mentioned in Chapter 1, We Are Social, includes many mobile stats in their review of the world of social media for 2014.
Some of the elements in Chapter 4—like the electromagnetic spectrum or cellular network operations—are pretty technical. One thing you can try is to type the word “explain” along with a search terms in the YouTube app on your mobile device. If you do that, you could find something like this video, which explains SMS (short message system, or text messages)
The mobile phone is rapidly becoming one of the most common pieces of electronic equipment on the planet, with number of cell phones in operation exceeding the population in many developed countries. You can track the latest statistics on mobile phone usage in a variety of places, including the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA). Wikipedia maintains a global list that is updated regularly.
One of the unfortunate developments of the past few years —for Canadian businesses, anyway—has been the waning popularity of the Blackberry phone, one of the pioneers of the smartphone category. Its rapid decline occurred while this book was being written and the case study in this chapter had to be revised several times to include new information. You can keep up with the latest in the Blackberry story by searching news sites for “Blackberry.”
Augmented reality is another thing you can do with your smartphone as an activity while you are reading this chapter. Both iOS and Android platforms can use an Internet connection and location information from the GPS in your phone to allow you to download apps that connect you to fictional or factual information about the place in which you are standing. One popular game in this genre, Ingress, takes its users on a “capture-the-flag” journey around a neighbourhood, a city, or further. You can download it from the Google Play store.
More prosaically, you can learn about restaurants that use the Yelp app, check out new places with Foursquare, and learn about landmarks and local features with the Field Trip app. All of these rely on information from a wide variety of sources, including users, and link them to you based on your location.
Since the Edward Snowdon revelations of 2013, there has been a heightened awareness of the role of surveillance when you use digital media, including cell phones. This article from Electronic Frontier Foundation offers a good overview of the issue, and what you can do about it.