1973- The First US Mobile Phone Call; Always within reach!
Start any conversation with, “What do you think about the cell phone?” and you’ll get everything from “It’s ruining the English language,” to “It’s creating brain tumors,” from “It’s the best way to create community,” to “I just made an experimental film with mine!” Everyone has an opinion about this invention that has made us “always available” and, some argue, never “here.”
In this episode of Action Speaks! Underappreciated Dates That Changed America Host and Creative Director, Marc Levitt, and our panelists, Quinnipiac University Professor Sharon Kleinman, editor of The Culture of Efficiency: Technology in Everyday Life (2009) and Displacing Place: Mobile Communication in the Twenty-first Century (2007), William Powers, author of Hamlet’s Blackberry, and Linda Raftree, Social Media and New Technology Advisor for Plan International, discuss these and other topics around our digital “Swiss Army Knife.”
- Has the cell phone permanently changed our ability to be present? Or ethical?
- Has our unprecedented access to information made us superficial thinkers?
- Can the cell phone re-democratize political experience? Media production?
Linda Raftree is the Social Media and New Technology Advisor for Plan International. Linda is based at Plan’s US Headquarters in Rhode Island, but spends most of her time in Africa supporting the use of new media and technology tools in Plan’s community development programs, including human rights, advocacy, health, sanitation, education, violence prevention, gender, civic education, and emergencies. Before joining Plan USA in 2001, Linda lived and worked in El Salvador for 10 years managing child media, child protection, peace and reconciliation, and disaster programs.
William Powers is the author of Hamlet’s BlackBerry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age. A former staff writer for The Washington Post, he has written for The Atlantic, The New York Times and many other publications. He is a two-time winner of the National Press Club’s Arthur Rowse Award for best American media commentary. Hamlet’s BlackBerry grew out of research he did as a fellow at Harvard University. He lives on Cape Cod.
Dr. Sharon Kleinman is professor of communications at Quinnipiac University. She is the editor of The Culture of Efficiency: Technology in Everyday Life (2009) and Displacing Place: Mobile Communication in the Twenty-first Century (2007) and is currently writing a dictionary of media and communication. She holds a B.A. in English and American literature from Brandeis University and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Communication from Cornell University. An avid mountain biker and yoga practitioner, she lives in New Haven, Connecticut.
Click to download associated curriculum.
- The Culture of Efficiency, Technology in Everyday Life; Edited by Sharon Kleinman: (Peter Lang, 2009)
- Hamlet’s Blackberry; A Practical Philosophy for Building A Good Life in the Digital Age, by William Powers (Harper Collins, 2010)
- When Old Technologies Were New; Thinking About Electric Communication in the Late Nineteenth Century, by Carolyn Marvin (Oxford Press, 1988)
- The Shallows, by Nicholas Carr (W. W. Norton, 2010)
- New Tech, New Ties How Mobile, by Rich Ling (MIT Press, 2008)
- Magic in the Air by James E. Katz (Transaction Publishers, 2006)
- Mobile Communication by Rich Ling and Jonathan Donner (Polity Press, 2009 James Levinson: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004)
- American Calling; A Social History of the Telephone to 1940 by Claude S. Fischer (University of California, 1992)
Produced by AS220 with generous support from Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and Johnson and Wales University.
Host/Creative Director: Marc Levitt
Producer: Dr. Michael Siegel
Sound engineer and editor: James Moses