Politics and Mobile Med

In today’s era communication mediums have paved new and exciting paths for political activism. These innovative and technically advanced communication technologies have given people the ability to organize, plan and coordinate to execute effective political actions (Oliver Leis). Through these technologies, including mobile phones and social networking mediums, individuals are able to communicate in ways that weren’t possible just a few short years ago. This new form of communication allows us to make positive social and political changes through elections, demonstrations, and insurrections. (Rheingold). This was seen in January of 2011 when Egyptian activists organized an uprising against their own government. The protest came about due to poverty, unemployment and corruption from a presidency that lasted three decades. Little after a month of relying on social networking, and various other mobile technologies the people of Egypt succeeded in their political agenda of getting their President Hosni Mubarak, to resign.

The similar success stories such as the Jasmine Revolution of Tunsia in 2011 set off a major movement of similar protests throughout the Middle East and North Africa (Britannica.) Although in not that extreme of a measure, societies demand for political change is strongly seen in the 2008 elections. When President Obama’s camp used the same media advantages that protesters in Egypt used the results were undeniably successful. Using social media to deliver messages that addressed complaints that the public was having.

Utilizing social media allowed Obama’s team to connect to a larger demographic then his opponents, a possibly large reason for winning his first term. From these 2,379,102 Facebook supporters, the 112,474 twitter followers, the $656,357,572 in individual contributions (Center for Responsive Politics) Obama’s 2008 campaign was able to control social networking through his ability to use communication technologies to his advantage.

All that being said notwithstanding the positive results that occurred with the help of mobile media and technology authors such Oliver Leis would argue that these mobile mediums, in particular to his article the iPhone, have no way of ensuring political success. A point that Leis brings up is that the iPhone is particularly expensive, making it difficult for those looking to invoke changes in areas of poverty a major issue. But even outside of the iPhone itself even through more affordable mobile devices politics requires some sort of financial backing. President’s Obama’s victorious campaign required millions of dollars in contribution around 750 million to be exact (Center for Responsive Politics) and although 88% of those come from individual and group donations it is safe to say that the remaining 12% that compliance funds played a part in campaigns success. I say this to support Leis argument that the mobile technologies alone are not going to ensure politic change. But looking further away from money, we’ve seen in recent year in events of Eric Gardener that even with major media attention certain political actions remain the same. In my social justice research paper I explained that even though in certain states polices officers are required to carry camera the record there move footage is often deleted or tampered with. So what about the civilian cellphone recording? As seen in the case of Eric Gardner a grand jury in Staten Island voted not to indict the New York City police officer that was taped preforming a NYPD banned chock hold that resulted to the death of Eric Garner. Despite the viral video that one would assume almost everyone saw, the three previous time accused of false racially motivated arrest NYPD officers, Daniel Pantaleo, lawyer Stuart London was able to convince a grand jury that her client was innocent. While the outrageous indictment resulted to in protest that eric-garner-protestsalso was organized through social networking, and social media platforms in the case of Eric grader unfortunately even through political activism built off mobile media involvement there wasn’t any political change to occur. Even in recent in months, despite media organized protest that lead to the investigation of Ferguson, Missouri police department which eventually lead to findings of racial bias in the department many including citizen of the city choose to believe that it is for the betterment of the city that the department remains the same. That goes to show that even if with majors media outlets such as CNN reporting findings of injustice and thousand participating in this demand for thorough social media, technology and other media outlets mobile media is limited in what it can contribute to political changes. One can even say that mobile media has contributed tremendously in political change.

There is very little that can be done to ensure that the change that does occur due to mobile media involvement is for the good. Or that that change even will remain as it was initially anticipate by those that seek to invoke change through mobile media. That could be said today about Iran’s 2008 revolution and the current issues regarding their politic converses.

Work Cited

Leistert, Oliver. (2012). “The IPHONE’s Failure: Protests and Resistances.” Moving Data: The iPhone and the future of media. New York: Columbia University Press. P. 238-248.

Rheingold, Howard. (2008). “Mobile Media and Political Collective Action.” In Katz, J. E. (Ed.). Handbook of MOBILE COMMUNICATION Studies. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. P. 225-239

Mathias, Christopher . Workneh, Lilly  (2014 December 03). Grand Jury Declines To Indict NYPD Officer In Chokehold Death Of Eric Garner. Huffington post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/03/eric-garner_n_6263656.html

(2011, Feb 14).Timeline: Egypt’s revolution. Al Jazeera. Retrieved from http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2011/01/201112515334871490.html

(2015, Jan 25). Protest deaths mark anniversary of Egyptian uprising. Al Jazeera. Retrieved from http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/01/protests-mark-fourth-anniversary-egyptian-uprising-150125100516885.html

Unknown. (Unknown). Triumphs & Tragedies | In Defense of Mass Demonstrations[Photograph], Retrieved April 5, 2014 from: URL (https://images.search.yahoo.com/images/view;_ylt=AwrB8pg7oSRVCRkAg2sunIlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTIzZzI3M3F1BHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDaW1nBG9pZAM3NzIyMmI0MzVjNmU1MmNiYTM2NjUwNzdhODE2OGQ4ZgRncG9zAzE4BGl0A2Jpbmc-?.origin=&back=https%3A%2F%2Fimages.search.yahoo.com%2Fyhs%2Fsearch%3Fp%3Deric%2Bgarner%2Bprotest%26fr2%3Dpiv-web%26hsimp%3Dyhs-001%26hspart%3Dmozilla%26tab%3Dorganic%26ri%3D18&w=970&h=668&imgurl=adamuzialko.files.wordpress.com%2F2014%2F12%2Feric-garner-protests.jpg&rurl=https%3A%2F%2Fadamuzialko.com%2F2014%2F12%2F07%2Fin-defense-of-mass-demonstrations%2F&size=132.9KB&name=Triumphs+%26+Tragedies+|+In+Defense+of+Mass+Demonstrations&p=eric+garner+protest&oid=77222b435c6e52cba3665077a8168d8f&fr2=piv-web&fr=&tt=Triumphs+%26+Tragedies+|+In+Defense+of+Mass+Demonstrations&b=0&ni=21&no=18&ts=&tab=organic&sigr=125k6cp5g&sigb=13r1ml61f&sigi=120thge8s&sigt=11o0gstmh&sign=11o0gstmh&.crumb=jN45wWNBo4n&fr2=piv-web&hsimp=yhs-001&hspart=mozilla)

Design and Theory – Reporting Sexual Assault

As I’ve previously established in an earlier section, my application is designed to protect the victims of sexual assault and aid their ability to seek that justice be served by law enforcement and the judicial system. Technology in the past twenty centuries has evolved and allowed us to change our ways of living in virtually all realms of our social lives (Masao Kakihara & Carsten Sorensen). Taking mobile phones as an example, we recognize the development and manifestation of our social lives combining new and old technologies (Masao Kakihara & Carsten Sorensen). As previously discussed, there are already apps out there, like 6 circle, that allow the user to select a designated number of trusted contacts for quick access to intervene in case of an emergency. As for my app, there will be a safe and secure database for the unfortunate event when an app such as 6 circle shows the inability to prevent an actual assault. Victims would be able to anonymously submit police reports, which would then be stored in a database made available to local authorities. Since reasons that victims say they don’t report sexual assaults include feeling a lack of compassion from the police and are sometimes encouraged to drop charges, it is important that the initial report be recorded anonymously from a victims’ mobile app. Since we are tethered to what Sherry Turkle calls “always-on/always-on-you” communication device and the people/things we are able to contact through it; therefore we are able to build a “transference relationship” and have the ability get in contact with whatever we need at a moment’s notice. (Sherry Turkle). Turkle points out the fact that mobile technology has given some of us the privilege to not only physically access what we need, but it also has the ability to help some of us emotionally through social networking sites and avatars. For example we sometimes communicate through an avatar or disembodied vocals that allow us to be anonymous, giving some of us a degree of emotional security (Turkle). The anonymous recording feature will not cause a problem with identifying the victim because of a software that will be made available to police. Even with the possibility of police losing evidence and falsifying information , we are in the era of social surveillance; our quick accessibility to a camera on our mobile device videos and photos have in recent years transformed the capacity for civilian oversight of law enforcement. (Daniel Denvir) One is able to provide evidence in court through imagery captured on your mobile device. Even if the police department isn’t willing to use the suggested software, victims can still access the app and store data and evidence needed, like pictures, accounts of the attack, and the mobile devices timestamp. Any information will be safely and securely stored in the database and can be accessed in the event the victim seeks help. The app will also make information available to not only police working the case, but prosecutors as well. Authorities will have twenty-four hour access to everything stored within their area; should the victim decide to come forward and pursue her case, she would then be able to walk into any police station and verify her complaint. Ways to verify the victims profile would include an ip address, phone number or email. Once an officer is logged into the app, he/she will see a different, administrative version of the app. Police will be able to verify a complaint and will be provided a suggested method to approach the victim. Since surveillance on law enforcement today is a big factor in pursuing cases, if an officer chooses not to use the suggested procedures, it would be noted for prosecutors and assistant D.A.’s in their own administrative page. All of this information will be recorded and made available in pursuit of a case. Since we are in an era where our mobile devices can record audio, video, and text; one will be able to record and document the entire reporting process with police on your profile. The app would be funded by grants and provided for free as to make it accessible to those of lower financial income. Reducing the cost of communication and increasing an individual’s control of time, location and content of communication will possibly increase individualism and self-expression (Jonathan Donner), the same could be said for victims. But aside from cost, it is important that individuals should simply be able to control these three 3 factors, which would allow victims to feel more confident or empowered to report their cases. Even though not further explained in the paper, people with disabilities will be accommodated though features like voice recognition, dial-in services; rather than having that persons voice recorded, violating their privacy. It is unfortunate that just like many other technologies that are meant to help, my app could be misused, but the app will have procedures implemented to prevent such actions

Work Cited

Goggin, Gerard. (2006). Cell Phone Culture: Mobile technology in everydaylife. London: Routledge. Chapter 5, p. 89-103.

Donner, Jonathan. (2008). “Shrinking Fourth World?” In Katz, J. E. (Ed.). Handbook of Mobile Communication Studies. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. P. 29-42

Kakihara, M & Sorensen, C. (2001). Expanding the Mobility Concept. December 2001/Vol 22, No. 3)

Turkle, S. (2008). Always-On/Always-On-You: The Tethered Self. Handbook of Mobile Communication Studies, 120-137.

Denvir, D. (2013,). “Police Brutality in the iPhone era.”

Equal Opportunities for Educational Justice

The application that I want to design is intended to promote educational justice and more specifically to allow people to learn world languages. As I have stated previously, this application is intended to spread equality amongst different school districts to provide the same opportunities. The mobile app will allow people to learn languages on their own that may not be offered in their area or school district. In this essay, I plan on covering that the mobility for this application is strong, the options for social interaction for users is up to the users choice, the privacy settings are high, and the accessibility will be manageable for most users.

The mobility for this application that I plan to design will be very portable because it will be available on different platforms. Not only will this app be provided on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, but it will also be available on websites. I chose to create an app as opposed to a text book so there can be updates to improve the systems. According to Goggin, “reading on mobile technology was introduced in the mid 1990’s”; however, it did not become more frequent until 2009 when iPhone and Android starting promoting this feature (Goggin 103). Goggin explained that in todays society, people use their mobile devices more frequently to read than physical books. Also, being able to have access to reading on mobile devices is a positive asset because a person can learn read anywhere they are on portable technologies. Since the app I want to design is educational, anyone can use it whenever they have access to a mobile device. They can learn in the comfort of their own home, on the subway, on break at work and ultimately wherever they desire which makes this extremely mobile.

The issue that takes places is that not everyone has access to these mobile devices and can use them anywhere they want. Also, not everyone that wants to learn a world language can afford to have an smartphone, tablet, or laptop. As I have stated in previous essays, I will be offering this application on the computer which can be accessed at libraries. Even with that option, there is always the possibility that a library may not have an available computer or may not even have one at all for public use. This can limit mobility options for users; however, looking at the bigger picture is it extremely diverse because it is offered on multiple platforms.

The application that I plan to design with also help with social interaction and especially “mobile mediality”. Mobile mediality “produces new relations between people, communities, and places” (Humphrey 495). The educational justice app will allow people to not only learn new languages, but will also allow them to communicate with people that know these languages. This can give someone the opportunity to practice their new skills and also build new bonds between people because they speak the same language and can communicate with one another.

Many applications have the option to find other people using the app and chat with them. I, on the other hand, do not plan on allowing users to contact another person through this application. This does limit social interaction via mobile technology; however, this educational justice app is intended for learning purposes only. I do not want my application to end up like Craigslist where it was originally designed to buy and sell items and now has become more dangerous with people killing those they meet up with to exchange items. If there is the option to chat with other people, it could lead to something very dangerous and completely sway from educational purposes.

Even though this application limits social interaction through mobile technology, not allowing online chats through this app also helps create more privacy for users. When first downloading the app, the user must create a username and password so they can track their progress with the languages they are learning. Unlike other apps, there will be no request to access other information on their devices or be forced to link their accounts to Facebook like Spotify. I decided upon this very private app because today, “people self monitor their online accounts and actions to maintain balance between publicity and seclusion” (Marwick 379). I do not want people to feel like they are being surveillanced by anybody in case they are insecure about their learning speed. Also, because this application is for personal development, there is no need to access anything from the user like photos kept on their phones or location for example.

Even though privacy is high, accessibility will be available but not as convenient for all users. Unlike Chipchase where she explained that “a simple mobile phone with minimal features set is the short answer”, I feel like this is not the case at all when it comes to app (Chipchase 87). There are people out there that need specific features with technology in order to use them to its fullest potential. A simple app would not be the answer because it limits people who need something more than what the application originally offers. For example, if a person does not have very good vision, they would need a the font to be larger which would be offered on this application. The issue with creating accessibility setting is that it is very hard to match everyone’s needs

There are many different kinds of disabilities in the world and it is hard to match everyone’s needs. There are even times when two people that have a condition suffer from completely different symptoms. It would be very difficult to match the needs of everyone, which is why I would choose accessibility similar to the iPhone. For example there would be settings like: font size, grayscale, speech, reduce motion, subtitles, assistive touch and the other options that the iPhone offers. This way, if a person can use their regular phone with whatever accessibility settings they need, then they can use the application.

Overall, this application is intended to teach users world languages in order to create educational justice. It will be very mobile because it is offered on mobile devices and on anything that can access the internet. It will create better social interaction and create new relationships with people who are learning the same languages. The application will also have very high privacy settings so users can only use the app for its intended purpose and they do not have to release any personal information about themselves. Finally, the app will be accessible to those who use different settings on their smartphones in order to use it to its fullest potential.


5 Craigslist crimes that will creep you out. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/5-craigslist-crimes-that-will-creep-you-out/3/

Chipchase, J. (2009). Reducing Illiteracy as a Barrier to Mobile Communication.            In Handbook of mobile communication studies. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT                    Press.

Gerard, G. (2012). Reading After The Phone. In The mobile media reader (pp.                  103-115). New York, New York: P. Lang.

Humphreys, L. (2012): Connecting, Coordinating, Cataloguing: Communicative              Practices on Mobile Social Networks. In Journal of Broadcasting &                           Electronic Media, (pp. 493-496) London, England: Routledge

IPhone Tips. (2013, January 1). Iphone ios7 accessibility options. Retrieved from           https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04_Xg0UA3Tk

Marwick, A. (2012, January 1). The Public Domain: Social Surveillance in Everyday Life. Retrieved from https://mobmedsp15.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/marwick_the-public-domain.pdf

App/Tech Social Justice

Brendan Cottone

Mobile Media


Social Justice App/Tech

The prison industry is a steadily growing problem in America. With over 1,574,700 people held in state and federal facilities in 2013, it shows that a significant portion of the American population is affected. Incarceration rates and inequalities lead to underdeveloped communities and act as a vicious cycle, especially considering ex convicts are given such few options in regards to turning their lives around outside of prison. There are varying ways to combat the incarceration rates, problems and lifestyles of cons and ex-cons by looking to develop technologies that focus on educating and rehabilitating convicts. By offering ways to reintegrate into society after serving prison sentences, and focusing on rehabilitation instead of punishment, a technology or application could significantly increase these chances.

When considering an application to develop to combat the incarceration rates and prison industry, it is important to understand that the majority of prisoners do not have access to a mobile application and technology. This limits the focus of developing a technology geared towards ex-convicts that are being reintegrated to society, or the youth by developing an application that can be used in schools or rehabilitation programs such as YAP, juvenile corrections and probation. Rehabilitation and Education is key when developing a social justice application in this field, and by focusing on the target audience can be highly beneficial.

This application when geared towards ex convicts can be truly successful. With up to 650,000 people released from prison every year, up to two thirds of will likely be rearrested within three years of release. By creating an application that offers opportunities such as job applications, volunteer work, and social engagement, these could potentially put ex-convicts in situations that could keep them out of prison and offer life-changing opportunities. When most convicts leave prison, they are often not left with much besides the life they had before they went to prison. Without opportunities they are most likely going to fall back into the vicious cycle and return to prison. This application could offer education opportunities that put ex convicts on a track, whether it is a hobby, job or niche. They will be able to communicate with either others in their situation, or people who have genuine interest in help rehabilitating ex convicts by offering opportunities. Essentially, this application can work as a rehabilitating social media service for ex-convicts that offers features much like a site like LinkedIn would.

Developing an application for juveniles that have been in legal trouble would also focus on the same features, however would work in a different fashion. For youths, the app could feature volunteer opportunities, give information towards career paths, and offer services that educate them on their rights and abilities. YAP panels can implement the technology into their rehabilitation sentences, by requiring offenders to use the application, engage with its services and finally report back with results either with it being through volunteer work or job opportunities. This application, while it does have many variables, can be a key concept in the rehabilitation of both troubled youth, and ex-convicts that are looking to reintegrate themselves into society.

Works Cited

  1. Carson, Ann E. “Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) – Prisoners in 2013.” Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) – Prisoners in 2013. BJS, 16 Sept. 2014. Web. 22 Feb. 2015.

2, 3. Wishner, Mary. “Race in the Criminal Justice System.” — Gallagher Law Library. Univ. of Washington, 10 Oct. 2013. Web. 15 Feb. 2015.

Social Justice Research – Prisons

Brendan Cottone


Mobile Media

Prison Reformation

A major issue that has been cultivating in the United States for the past forty years is the ever-changing prison movement. Since 1980, the rate of U.S. citizens that incarcerated has quadrupled. Today, the United States has the largest prison population in the world, backed by crime ridding movements such as the war on drugs, and the introduction of privatized prisons, which are shockingly for profit. There are more then 2.4 million people incarcerated inside the United States. With so many people being incarcerated, it is important to look at how this affects the United States populous. This topic is especially fitting within the state of turmoil the U.S. is experiencing at the moment in regards to racial inequalities and disparities.

To understand the impacts of the rising incarceration rates in the United States, one must look past the numbers and towards people that these trends have been affecting. Since the United States incarcerates 25% of the world’s prisoners, one must question the impacts this has on the people. This high incarceration rate has negative impacts on individuals, families and communities, and is a significant factor in discussing racial inequality and the ability to break oppression. Between incarceration, parole and probation; more African-American men are currently under the jurisdiction of federal, state and local criminal justice systems then were enslaved in 1950. What is the cause of these higher incarceration rates? Unfortunately it has to do with more then people committing crime. The war on drugs has been criticized as a racially unequal movement. There is a multitude of evidence that backs claim. By looking into the rates of marijuana use, it is evident that people of color are far more likely to be incarcerated for drug use. In 2010, 14% of blacks reported using marijuana in the past twelve months, as compared to 12% of Whites. This concludes that whites smoke as much marijuana as blacks. But by looking at the incarceration rates for marijuana use in 2010, there were over 700,000 reported arrests for marijuana use by blacks, compared to only 200,000 arrests for marijuana use by whites (Washington Post). This is an alarmingly large discrepancy and practically screams for reform in regards to the incarceration movement in America, as it is not racially equal. Another factor on the war on drugs would be the mandatory minimum sentences in regards to crack cocaine. Although it has recently been reformed, sentencing on cocaine, specifically crack cocaine, would lead to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years. Meanwhile, possessing the same amount of powder cocaine would not result in a minimum five year sentence. The difference between crack cocaine and powder cocaine is small, except for one major implication, the price. Crack cocaine is cheap and used by people who are impoverished or oppressed, meanwhile powder cocaine is the white collar drug, and much more expensive. It is clear as day to see the inequalities these laws had in regards to the incarceration movement.

There are many solutions to the growing incarceration inequalities in the United States. The primary solution though, is education. By teaching people not only their rights and law, but by emphasizing higher learning, those impoverished will have the ability to have their own voice, know their rights and avoid incarceration or interactions that could end up putting them behind bars. Another solution would be to reform laws, specifically on drug use, and encourage rehabilitation instead of incarceration. Finally another solution would be to end the privatized prison movement, eliminating both the for-profit prison, and the need to fill these prisons.

Works Cited

  1. Matthews, Dylan. “The Black/white Marijuana Arrest Gap, in Nine Charts.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 4 June 2014. Web. 14 Feb. 2015.
  2. “FAMM – » Crack Cocaine Mandatory Minimum Sentences.” FAMM. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2015.
  3. Wishner, Mary. “Race in the Criminal Justice System.” — Gallagher Law Library. Univ. of Washington, 10 Oct. 2013. Web. 15 Feb. 2015.

Philadelphia School Funding (Social Justice Research)

                Public schools in Philadelphia are struggling to give children the proper education they deserve, due to lack of funding. Many of these schools are in a position where they can’t afford supplies and other essentials, leading to different things being cut in order to stay open. Essentials like teachers, counselors, classes, and supplies are now being removed from the schools’ setting. This is a problem that directly effects how the future generation will flourish in society 10-20 years from now. As adults who have already been educated, we should want to help position the upcoming generations to better our future economic development. Teachers who have went into college debt, are now finding it harder than ever to make a living teaching in Philadelphia. Some of these teachers are going as far as to buying their own supplies for the kids to use. Schools removing art and gym classes are taking away from the kids who enjoy being active and using their creativity. Many problems can arise from a shortage of textbooks, counselors, nurses, and teachers. As one of the nation’s largest school districts, Philadelphia should not be in this position.

One thing that should be addressed is the low funding for these schools. Why are we not properly investing in education for the youth? Young kids should not be cut short of the education they deserve. When I was a kid, there was nothing for me to worry about because I practically had everything a school should have. More than 20 schools in Philadelphia have closed down due to the lack of funding. This robs kids of the opportunity to develop into well-educated adults, and limits what they will be able to accomplish in the future. Insufficient funding also puts a strain on preparing students to further their education, and may also lead to them not being interested. If this continues, we are setting ourselves up for an economic down-fall, as far as the development of a society goes. Fixing the funding will help resolve this issue.

Although this problem seems to be overlooked, there have been some proposals to solve the financing of these schools. After the Corbett Administration imposed steep cuts in the general education budget for all school districts across the state, Philadelphia public schools have been in a financial crisis. The SRC (School Reform Commission) has hired the Boston Consulting Group to make recommendations for the reconstructing the district (Sears 2012). Leading to nursing and custodian services being cut. Which is not fair for those labors. Philadelphia’s newspapers have launched drives to obtain pencils, paper, and other basic supplies for schools (Caskey, 2014). There have also been replacements on the local school board. In response to an earlier financial crisis, in 2001, the State of Pennsylvania took control of the Philadelphia school district. Replacing the local school board with a five-member School Reform Commission (Caskey 2014). It has also been under research to see if nonprofit schools vs schools for profit made a difference in the educational standards for the state (Peterson 2009). No matter the method, schools in Philadelphia are struggling financially, this is something that needs to be fixed.


Peterson, P. E., & Chingos, M. M. (2009). For-profit and nonprofit management in philadelphia schools. Education Next, 9(2) Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1237825331?accountid=14270

Sears, B. (2012, April 30). Philly school “restructure” plan meets stiff opposition. Retrieved February 14, 2015, from http://www.peoplesworld.org/philly-school-restructure-plan-meets-stiff-opposition/

Caskey, John. “THE Philadelphia School District’s ongoing financial crisis.” Education Next 14.4 (2014): 21+. Academic OneFile. Web. 14 Feb. 2015.

Mobile History and AR

Asil Martin

Mobile technologies have been around for a long time, and history shows how we value this particular technology, being that it provides us with the ability to communicate with others. We enjoy the pleasures of mobile technology so much that there are users out there who want to incorporate the device more with who they are. Practices of wearing technology and blending it with the physical environment leads us to trying to normalize something known as augmented reality. Augmented reality, blends both the virtual world with the real world, in real-time. Looking at this kind of technology and the history of how mobile tech has evolved over the years, we find that the mobile tech wasn’t always so digital.

History tells us mobile technology dates back as far as Ancient Egypt, with the papyrus. Farman goes on to say that, “papyrus was invented as an alternative to stone tablet inscription and written media becomes portable,” (Farman, pg. 11). Egyptians found that papyrus paper was a lot easier to carry and pass messages from one to another. Although papyrus was indeed the start of mobile media, oppose to stone writing, it was the invention of the printing press that was a huge step for mobile technologies. Invented in 1440, the printing allowed for the mass printing (and distribution) of written media (Farman pg. 12). From printing, came the development of a device that communicated with sound.

Created in the 1790s, the first working telegraph, brought about the telegram in 1794 (Goggin 19-21). People begin to familiarize themselves by communicating with people through a device with more convenience. This device of course, made communication far more personal than any written text at the time. It allowed for message to be transmitted instantly, and at distances once seen to be almost too far. To further expand on the reach of transmission, in the early 1800s, Europeans developed common standard—Global System for Mobile (GSM) Communication that could be used throughout the whole continent (Ling and Donner, pg. 38). With this, we begin to see that the coverage of mobile technology growing larger, thus leading to bigger technological advances.

During 1877, it was Alexander Graham Bell, who demonstrated the telephone, invented in 1876, to a group of military officials (Goggin pg. 20). The telephone didn’t exactly present an augmented reality, but it did expose you to direct connectivity. Connectivity that was known only through the telephone devices. Telephones brought the creation of Standardize time zones in 1884 (Farman, pg. 13.). So now specific regions had their time adjusted accordingly based off their location in the country to take in consideration of other location’s time. This is the first adjustment towards setting real-time acknowledgement. By the end of the nineteenth century, the telegraph became a global communications network (Goggin pg. 21), leading to many more users. Sometime in the early 1900’s, there was 1 telephone subscriber per 10,000 people in the USA (Ling and Donner, pg. 34).

brick phone

Mobile technology was becoming far more popular than any other subject. Development of taking the communication anywhere was booming. In 1909, the US Army Signal corps experimented with radio equipment mounted on horse carriages (Goggin pg. 21). Soon after we see car phones. It was in 1910, Swedish electrical engineer by the name of Lars Magnus Ericusson, makes the first mobile phone, which was built into his wife’s car (Farman, pg. 15). Telephones and radio were expanding in many directions. Devices begin to take on more private and personal use.

What we carry in our pockets today, evolved so much as time moved on. AT&T and Southwestern Bell Offered the first commercial mobile radio telephone allowing calls from fixed phones to mobile users (in St. Lewis) (Goggin, pg. 25) in 1946. After that came a number of other important technologies the following year. Though it was in 1947 that a phone would send and receive signals via the transmitter tower that provided dedicated service to the cell in which it was located, and as users moved locations the responsibility for maintaining the reception of the phone would be passed from one cell base to another (Goggin pg. 26). This made connectivity easier than ever before. Thus birthing the coined term of the cell phone.

Cell phones today are the most popular used technology platforms in the world. Its growth in popularity came in the late 1940’s. In 1948 the development of the transistor and subsequent addition of the integrated chip was the central growth of the mobile phone system (Ling and Donner, pg. 41). This led to further development as consumers couldn’t wait to get their hands on mobile phones, which were developed and patent by Motorola in 1973 (Goggin, pg. 29). Then came the need for mobile control stations. Japan had the world’s first cellular radio service with the Mobile Control Station system.

With the advancement of technology, we find that communicating in a digital space wouldn’t be possible if not for certain developments. In the 1990’s, the cell phone extended its range of features and the repertoire of voice telephony that it could support. New media features added including multimedia (communication and cultural exchange through text, image, sound, and touch, as well as voice). Widespread adoption of text messaging happens during the same time as email becomes popular (Goggin pg, 31). This brings us to the data usage. Technology begins to display ideals of augmented reality soon after with wearable devices.

Connected to the internet, and the existence of mobile data brings us to the development of mixing our world with the digital. We find that people favor the convenience of what exist in the digital would. The use of these mobile technologies not only influences how people consume space, but creation of augmentation has the potential to reproduce space with code Liao and Humphrey, pg. 5). Mixing our reality with the digital world we create through coding. Developments to create this a reality has be shown that augmented reality is something certain to become part of how we interact with out devices in the future.


  • Farman, Jason. (2012). “Historicizing Mobile Media: Locating Transformations of Embodied Space,” in N. Arceneaux & A. Kavoori (Eds), The Mobile Media Reader. New York: Peter Lang. P. 9-22.
  • Ling, Rich and Donner, Jonathan. (2009). Mobile Communication. Malden, MA: Polity Press. Chapter 2, p. 30-48.
  • Goggin, Gerard. (2006). Cell Phone Culture: Mobile technology in everyday life. London: Routledge. Chapter 2, 19-40.
  • https://interestandinfluence.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/original.jpeg , Brick Phone Photo.
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qm2gnnyyvEg Microsoft Revealed the HoloLens augmented-reality headset.