March 16, 2003

Don't leave home without your «keitai»

For Japanese youth, leaving home without their keitai (cell phone) or letting the battery go dead, is just about the worst thing that can happen. Without a cell phone to spread news, gossip or arrange meeting points on the fly, social life is impossible.

Mizuko Ito and her colleagues at Keio University in Japan are studying the ethonographic parameters of this new wireless society. In an article in the Japan Media Review, Mizuko Ito vividly describes how cellphones are changing the way Japanese teenagers socialize.

"To not have a keitai is to be walking blind, disconnected from just-in-time information on where and when you are in the social networks of time and place."

"The changing dynamics of meeting-making are only the tip of the iceberg in the changes that mobile media bring to how we coordinate, communicate, and share information".

Reported earlier last week in Gizmodo, the above study was featured in Friday's Netsurfer Digest with an additional fascinating link, the Keitai Log, "an occasional Web diary by a group of Tokyo college students who are researching the changing role of cell phones in Japanese society". Bookmark!

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