Paradigm shift in mobile media - Ubiquitous society (back to the oral culture)

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1. Important framework of McLuhan's central philosophy in development of media culture

1.1 Pre-character culture

-Media: Phonetic language -Time and Space: Now and here -Corporeality, sensory, immediacy: Physical, sensuous, direct -Imitability: No imitability

1.2 Character culture

-Media: Transcript, publication -Time and Space: Past and Distant -Corporeality, sensory, immediacy: Non-physical, intellectual and logical, indirect -Imitability: Low imitability (Standardized, duplication)

1.3 Electronic media culture

-Media: Electronic media -Time and Space: "Now and here" + "Past and distant" -Corporeality, sensory, immediacy: Virtually physical, virtually sensuous, and virtually direct -Imitability: Imitable

2. Development of mobile technology has exactly followed the framework

2.1 In pre-character culture, the voice is the only communication. In the culture, the necessary technology is analog, 800MHz Bandwidth communication, called 1st generation (1G). The communication is limited to "Now" because only simultaneous voice communication is possible. The sensory is physical because the voice is physical media, and also direct communication by simultaneous communication.

2.2 In character culture, SMS / e-mail / homepages / i-mode appears to communicate through verbally, and therefore the consumer can reach the past and distant information through these medias. These communication is actualized through so- called 2nd generation technology (2G) with communication speed from 14.4 kbbs (WCDMA) to 171.2 kbps (GSM). The communication through mobile media expands to the past through the text homepage or message by e-mail and SMS. The imitation is relatively easy to the only voice communication, through copying the text and information exchanged or disclosed. Through the development of these contents, consumer can communicate indirect, and logical communication through the mobile devices.

2.3 In Electronic media culture

The media will be more virtual or "hot" media compare to the "cool" media observed in 1G through 2G. The third generation technology enables the mobile communication up to 100Mbps, resulting the media and message sent by the contents provider should be diverse and sophisticated. The video telephone is the good example for the "hot" contents. Consumer can communicate virtually co-existing experience through the mobile phone, by seeing the face and hearing the voice. In pre-character culture / character culture, the only media was hearing OR seeing. The electronic media culture will actualize the hearing AND seeing. If the mobile devices are combined with PDA touch screen panel, the touching sense will be added to the media. The keyword of 4th generation "UBIQUITOUS" is the neat word for expressing the development of the media for consumer. As well, the development of the technologies enables contents provider to offer diverse services, so that the business opportunity drastically widen.

  • "HOT" and "COOL" media defined by McLuhan / "Hot" media is more high-definition communication whilst the "Cool" media is relatively lower-definition communications.

3. Conclusion: "Regression to the oral culture"

As McLuhan indicated in his "Theory of Media", the electronics media culture will actualize the regression to the oral culture. The only difference between the primitive, direct communication and the electronic media communication is whether it is virtual or not. The highly developed mobile technology will enable people to approach to more direct communication compare to the analogue or low bandwidths communication method. These drastic change in the mobile communication will ultimately change the life style of the people, the communication way of the people, and the business practice of the people. UBIQUITOUS world will be completely different one where the past combines now, the different location will be one and business communications will be more sophisticated.