Book review: Mobile Interfaces in Public Spaces

Woman behind smartphone

For those of us who are interested in studying mobile technologies (i.e., mobile phones or smartphones), there are a number of very good and fairly recent texts out there that approach the subject from quite specific points of view[1. Technomobility in China: Young Migrant Women and Mobile Phones comes to mind; it is an excellent book that I would highly recommend.], but there are relatively few texts that consider the mobile phone to be an interface[2. Don’t let this terminology confuse you. In this sense, the “interface” being discussed does not refer to the operating system or GUI of the phone–instead, it refers to the mobile device as a means of filtering or screening out elements of the “real world.”] between the user and the larger world.

Mobile Interfaces in Public Spaces: Locational Privacy, Control, and Urban Sociability by Adriana de Souza e Silva and Jordan Frith takes this approach. Early on, they emphasize the importance of interfaces, stating that “they play a critical role in shaping interactions [of all kinds] and creating meaning” (p. 2), as they filter information and actively reshape communicative relationships (p. 4). Continue reading “Book review: Mobile Interfaces in Public Spaces”