Mobile Phones and the “Village Green”

December 6, 2010 § Leave a comment

“Think about the typical, brief ‘village-green’ conversation: ‘Hi, how’re you doing?’ ‘Fine, just off to the shops — oh, how’s your Mum?’ ‘Much better, thanks’ ‘Oh, good, give her my love — see you later’. If you take most of the vowels out of the village-green conversation, and scramble the rest of the letters into ‘text-message dialect’ (HOW R U? C U L8ER), to me it sounds uncannily like a typical SMS or text exchange: not much is said — a friendly greeting, maybe a scrap of news — but a personal connection is made, people are reminded that they are not alone. Until the advent of mobile text messaging, many of us were having to live without this kind of small but psychologically and socially very important form of communication.”

From Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour by Kate Fox (p. 87)

Although I think there’s something to be said for the mobile-phone version of the “village-green” conversation occasionally getting in the way of meat-space conversations (we’ve all been sitting across from someone who was too engrossed in their text conversation to have a proper chat with us), I tend to agree that texting, and mobile phone use in general, is filling a personal-connection void that exists, particularly in big cities like the one where I live. That’s a comforting idea amidst all of the doom-and-gloom analysis of our mobile culture.


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