Wk4: You Are What You Carry

In a similar topic to Mobile Phones (Wk3), this week’s topic has a closer look to what we carry.  It is said from Chipchase’s research that Keys, Money and Phones are the most common things at the point of the TED talk, which till now has not changed much.

As written previously in my Wk3 post, the mobile phone is the centrality of our lifestyle today.  Keys and money can reside in our mobile phones. To not repeat the same concepts as the previous week, I shall discuss more about we are what we carry in our mobile phones.

Our touchscreen Android or iOS phones have evolved much since the launch of the first iphone. The word App was foreign then, and the App fever came upon us. The Apple App Store had and still has tons of Apps that come and go with time. They are joined by the Android App Store, the Google cousin of Apple.

Our phones have enough space to hold many many apps. Hence we do download perhaps a hundred, but only use 10 at times and always use 3. Similar to the concept that Chipchase has brought up with the items on our bags.

So the question here is which 3 are our most frequently used apps that define us? For most, they are messaging apps like Whatsapp, Telegram and WeChat. They form the bulk of our communication means with our friends. Next in line would be social media apps like Facebook / Instagram and Snapchat. For our working segment, the email app is one that directly concern their livelihood. In fact, it is possible to check which apps do we spend the most time on.

Ultimately, it is the stage of life, our priorities and our unique behaviour that shapes what apps we use. Research has shown that Facebook is used mostly by 25 and above, Instagram 16 and above, and Snapchat below 25. This is one of the studies into social media behaviour based on age segments that defines what we use and who we are.


Wk3: Anthropology of Mobile Phones

One of the points that Chipchase  has mentioned was that the top 3 things that people carry are: Mobile phones, keys and money. This is across cultures, ages and genders.

Despite this being many years ago, where keys provide security, phones connectivity and money basic necessities, in today’s context it is the same, yet different. How different? Well, as discussed in class the rise of e-Payment systems, notably in China, where WeChat rules. WeChat app can be used for anything under the sun, buying groceries to transferring money from one person to another. Keys on the other hand, can be digitized as well. Just install the hardware systems that can be linked to apps on the phone, and suddenly your car and home doors can be opened with your phone.

Ultimately, the central entity for all these is the phone. The phone has evolved from its giant humble beginnings to its sleek smartphone of today. Can it be displaced? Just as television sets can be displaced by personal laptops for its convenience to watch the same drama series, phones can be displaced as well. However, with today’s technology, the smartphone seems to be cementing its grip as the source of technology.


The second is on delegation. In the context of delegation, mobile phones allow us to transcend across space and time. It helps us overcome our limitations. It is instantaneous. It gives immediate satisfaction.


Third is that phones allow us to innovate. In today’s context, where phone apps are abundant, and chat or messaging apps are becoming a platform for apps. It will be likely to continue to be a great source of innovation.