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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

NOT MP3'S FAULT: Think the growing use of iPods in public spaces is increasing social fragmentation and reducing cultural connectivity? Think again. Writer Jordan Kraemer notes that private activity in public is nothing new: before we listened to MP3s on the bus, we read books and magazines.
Ultimately, I question whether mobile communications and media devices really interfere with the public sphere, or simply provide communications and media for increasingly mobile populations.... When I used to commute to work before iPods and cell phones became ubiquitous, I was always careful to bring a book with me, and even if I didn't, I rarely struck up conversations with strangers. Similarly, in college in the late 1990s, I might occasionally nod to a familiar face when walking to class, but generally, the "public sphere" of walkways and lawns rarely constituted a prime site of social engagement.