“Nobody sits at home and waits for the telephone to ring: Micro and hyper-coordination through the use of the mobile telephone” | Rich Ling and Birgitte Yttri (2002)

Smartphones have led to micro-coordination where meeting times and places are fluid, and hyper-coordination where in-group discussions can take place.

… the mobile telephone has resulted in   new forms of interaction. … we have called …   micro coordination and hyper-coordination. These two types of “coordination” have arisen as a result of the wide scale adoption of mobile telephony. [….]

One of the impacts of mobile telephony is the ability for nuanced, instrumental  coordination. This forms the core of micro coordination. With the use of mobile communication systems, one need not take an agreement to meet at a specific time  and place as immutable. Rather, those meeting have the ability to adjust the agreement as the need arises. In addition, mobile communication systems allow for the redirection of transportation to meet the needs of social groups. This is largely a functional and instrumental activity.

Moving beyond this, “hyper-coordination” encompasses instrumental coordination and adds two other dimensions to this. The first is the expressive use of the mobile telephone. That is, in addition to the simple coordination of where and when, the device is employed for emotional and social communication. People chat with each  other. The Short Message System (SMS) function is used to send chain letters, and personal messages that can range all the way from innocent and over-sweet greetings to vulgar pornographic images. One sees the integration of the group via the use of the mobile telephone.

The second aspect of hyper-coordination is the in-group discussion and agreement as  to the proper forms of self-presentation vis-à-vis the mobile telephone. That is, the  type of mobile telephone that is appropriate, the way in which it is carried on the body and the places in which it is used. Thus, hyper-coordination encompasses the instrumental and the expressive use of the mobile telephone as well as strictures regarding the presentation of self. One can see that the mobile telephone provides a type of integration or “coordination” that goes through several dimensions of social life.

“Nobody sits at home and waits for the telephone to ring: Micro and hyper-coordination through the use of the mobile telephone” | Rich Ling and Birgitte Yttri  (2002) at http://www.richardling.com/papers/2002_Nobody_sits_at_home_and_waits.pdf , formally republished as Ling, R. and Yttri, B. 2002. “Hyper-coordination via mobile phones in Norway.” In Katz, J. and Aakhus, M. (eds.) Perpetual contact: Mobile communication, private talk, public performance. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Perpetual Contact: Mobile Communication, Private Talk, Public Performance