ENG 331 Group 7’s Final Project

Cell Phone Culture

What exactly is Cell Phone Culture?
Cell phone culture is best described as an integrated pattern of behavior pertaining to cell phone use. Some examples of this is the simple greetings that we may have when answering a call, text messaging “tags” that we place at the end of the message, cell phone ring tones, wallpapers, covers, and accessories. Of course there are many more examples, especially in cities where the cell phone culture is more developed. Cell phone culture is so integrated within our daily lives that it is near impossible to see it everyday. We see it everyday we walk out of our apartment or home. We see it on the streets and at work. We even see it within cafe and restaurants.


Cover for the Razr

example of cell phone culture and individuality


The most interesting and unique aspect of this culture is the idea of individuality. They way people display their cell phones helps a stranger identify what kind of person they are. Therefore, people are always looking for new phones, covers, wallpapers, ringtones, charms, ringback, applications, and holders. In Tokyo, where cell phone use is extremely prevalent, Japanese teenagers have been known to judge and compare each other’s mobile simply based on how it looks. A survey conducted in London by Motorola about cell phone display and usage showed that, “”Others said they had been keen to display their mobiles while they were top-of-the-range or state-of-the-art, but had stopped doing so when their models fell behind.” (Dr Sadie Plant, “On The Mobile: Effects of Mobile Telephones on Social and Individual Life”). Of course there lies an entire realm of psychological analysis and behaviors that will be further discussed in the “Psychological Aspects” portion of this website.

Of course there are negative aspects of cell phone culture. For example, people tend to feel annoyed or bothered by their public use. Answering a call in the middle of a task is disruptive and tends to take priority over whatever task they were doing initially. If the user was in a conversation with another individual, and then answers a call, the individual may feel abandoned or neglected.

To combat these negatives, the culture has evolved to the point where there exist a set of unwritten social rules that should be abided by. For instance, in large social gatherings like weddings or funerals people know to silence their mobiles as to ensure they do not disrupt others or the service. Specific locations like the library or museums are also instances of when cell phone use should be moderated. To further combat this issue, establishments like cafes and restaurants have even been known to create “mobile free zones” where any mobile (cell phone or PDA) use is prohibited.

There is one reported case where a German business man actually died in a fight due to a ill-mannered use of his cell phone. Of course this is an extreme situation that is very unlikely to occur again and not to discourage cell phone use, but interesting nonetheless!


Example of a Mobile Free Zone Sign...

Example of a Mobile Free Zone Sign...


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