Intervening Physical Space

I feel like it has helped enhanced my daily habits in one way, as I can receive news quicker and instantly in some cases. I can respond to people on the move and send emails, etc., which helps with my organization skills.

Student Participant

When that phone rings, whether it is a call, text, email or notification, it sometimes feel like an emergency. You have to pay attention NOW, but the reality is that you have to prioritize.

Student Participant

Smartphones have created multiple opportunities to dictate how people go about daily tasks. “We walk around with this device where we can get all this valuable information, [so] it would be stupid not taking advantage of it,” reflected one of the study participants. New technological developments in smartphones provide more opportunities for university students to multitask and engage in media use beyond texting and calling.

One of the main advantages smartphones provide is the opportunity to constantly keep engaged with public and personal communications. Students showed a propensity to stay in touch with friends and family, not only through traditional texting and calling, but also through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Smartphones also facilitate the human curiosity in students and become handy when students need to look something up or find out general information.

Figure – Wordtree of mobile phone connectivity (see graph in Many Eyes HERE)

All these tasks people have incorporated into their daily routines through smartphones have enabled more reach and efficiency in terms of the information flow. Similarly, students reflected on the need to constantly be reachable and to stay updated on personal events.

The word “instant” has become part of the culture where social interaction occurs— An email or a text message must be responded to instantly. Two hours-old news is considered old and out of date. This increases the need for smart phones even more. Students with smartphones find value in convenience and ease of communication because they have the ability to accommodate needs of immediacy.

People without smartphones are just not able to keep up unless the are near a computer.

A participant without a smartphone complained, quite simply, “I’m always the last one to know.”