The mobile phone is making more significant changes to people’s lifestyles in contemporary times than the landline equivalent did in an earlier era.

The technology of a telephone on the move has made a more significant impact on today’s society as compared to the impact made by landlines in an earlier era. A survey carried out in 2010 by UK Imperial College London, identified more than six billion users of mobile phones worldwide. Most of them have used both a mobile and a landline and can make the comparison as to which is better or more efficient. It’s a fact that the invention of the telephone made a significant impact on the lives of our ancestors as a communication tool, when compared to the use of fires, carrier pigeons, pony express or people walking and running. However, it only changed the way they communicated orally. The mobile phone on the other hand, has affected different aspects of the people’s lifestyles in today’s society. It is used as a component for storing and retrieving data; a social tool; a gaming entertainment; G.P.S. tracker and most conveniently, it goes where ever you go.

The landline phone is a stationary tool and has to be connected and used where the line is installed. If and when information has to be transmitted, one would have to be available at the site, where it is installed. This was not always convenient because people were always on the move working, shopping, driving, riding, attending meetings and so forth. Vital information could be lost or delayed. The mobile phone however, is operated by cell sites and can be carried wherever you go. You don’t have to sit and wait by the phone to receive or send a message. You can be reached wherever you are or whenever you’re needed. Information can be researched even before you have reached your destination. Jensen’s (2007) research on some fishermen of Kerala, wrote that while still at sea, fishermen could call a range of possible landing points and buyers, in order to determine the best price and best place to sell their catch. While the mobile affords this luxury in today’s society, the fishermen in an earlier era had to get to shore and obtain the information as it was required.

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Many people need to store and retrieve information on a daily basis. Be it for work or personal purposes. In an earlier era, persons used parchment paper, paper and ink. In today’s society, computers are generally used for this purpose. With the improved technology in mobile phones, storage space is provided, which makes it possible for this purpose. It’s also more convenient to carry that information around with you. It can be retrieved without much effort unlike our ancestors who had to get the book or paper where it was kept and search until the information was found. A landline in an earlier era did not allow for that and so it had no effect in this aspect of the peoples’ lives.

The young people of today’s society are being entertained by gaming devices. According to a survey of high school students carried out by analyst Piper Jaffray, teens prefer to play social or online games on their mobile phones instead of playing traditional video games on consoles. The mobile phone is programmed with many gaming applications. One does not have to buy an expensive toy or game to entertain oneself. Instead the mobile is used. The user has a choice of downloading games via the internet, which is of interest to him. The youths of long ago could not use the landline as a form of gaming entertainment.

A GPS (Global Positioning System) is a very vital tool to persons in society. It is a spaced-based satellite navigation system that provides location and time information in all weather conditions. It keeps a track of where you’ve been or where you’re at. People get lost occasionally, whether on foot or driving. Visitors need directions and also the distance when visiting an area for the first time. Mobile phones are programmed with GPS applications. One only has to turn on the GPS icon on the mobile and directions would be provided. If you’re lost and can’t find your way, your mobile tracking system, would assist rescuers in locating you. In an earlier era, if someone got lost, and did not share the information of their destination or if followed the wrong directions, he would remain there for days or even a longer period of time until rescued. The landline could not be used to provide guidance, directions or tracking systems to aid with the
rescuing.

Finally, according to Marilyn Campbell (2005) in an article “The impact of the mobile phone on young people’s life”, cell phone is the most popular form of electronic communication. It has turned from a technological tool to a social tool. It is used to organize and maintain social networks. In this contemporary time, all age groups, male and female are members of social networks such as facebook, twitter, Skype and many more. These social networks can be downloaded on the mobile phone via the internet. Persons can keep in touch with friends and family members. Advertisement is also made possible through these social networks. For example the number of facebook users is about 1.2 billion. One only has to post an advert and it gets forwarded to members. By the end of the day, thousands of users would have gotten the message. Amy Graham (2010) in an article stated that cell phones provide vital services and human connections. They connect people in dire need with services that can change or save their lives. In the olden days, one could not make use of the landline in such a manner.

In conclusion, while the landline made a significant change to the people’s lifestyles in an earlier era, it only impacted on their form of oral communication. It did not change the way information was stored, or the way the youths entertained themselves. The mobile phone on the other hand, made a more significant impact on the people’s lifestyle. It changed a wide range of aspects. Oral communication, social networks, entertainment aspect, navigational systems and the processing of information were made more simple and convenient.

REFERENCES

Campbell, M.A. (2005). The impact of the mobile phone on young people’s social life. retrieved January 2013: www.qut.edu.au.com

Caoili, E. (2012). Teens losing interest in traditional games, prefer social/mobile experiences. retrieved January 2013: www.gamasutra.com

Donner, J. (2010). A review of evidence on mobile use by micro and small enterprises in developing countries. Journal of international development. retrieved January 2013: Wiley Online Library

Graham, A. (2010) How cell phones have changed our lives. retrieved January 2013: Articles.cnn.com

Imperial College. (2010). Cosmos cohort study. retrieved January 2013: Wikipedia.org/wiki/cosmos_cohort_study

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