In this fast-paced contemporary world, we have become strictly controlled in both the capacity and quality of contact with our societal set-up. The role of mobile telecommunications in the 21st century might be manifold; however the mobile phone’s role of being the facilitator of gossip and thus restoring our sense of connection and providing a remedy to the pressures and alienation of modern life is something I can vouch about.

Yes, mobiles are a ‘social lifeline’ in this bitty and separating world!

And yeah,you heard it right,I said ‘gossip’…now lets not judge the word ‘gossip’ with any pre-conceived notion of it being what we all claim,’ we don’t do’ ;).

This is a proven fact that two-thirds of all human conversation is gossip :), because this ‘vocal grooming’ is essential to our social, psychological and physical well-being 😛  🙂

Mobiles facilitate tête-à-tête…mobiles have increased and enhanced this vital lively activity, by allowing us to hear and say ‘anytime, anyplace, anywhere’ and to text as well as talk :P. Mobile chitchat is a helpful and important new stress-buster :)…

When I think about my own experience, I feel life’s taken a 210 degree round in the domain of phones, starting from the first land line phone at home to smart phone in my hands at present. I have left remaining 150 degrees, because it’s still turning day by day aligning itself with this mobile technology  🙂

The technology associated with mobile phones grew like anything. From the era of black and white screens of bulky hand sets with antenna to sleek and light handsets with color screens.

Latest mobile phones are loaded with music, camera, accessibility of WAP services,GPS and full internet access using technologies such as GPRS,ability to send and receive pictures and videos through MMS and bluetooth.Sound recording and video recording is so easy with mobile phone with these features. Most people do not walk around with a video camera, but do carry a phone. The arrival of video camera phones is transforming the availability of video to consumers, and helps fuel citizen journalism.

Till today, I have clear memories of my happiness and excitement on being given my first mobile phone by my parents, when I was in second semester of my engineering. It was a prized procession, securely kept in a girly mobile pouch:).That was a time when incoming calls had become free in India, and keeping a mobile phone looked like affordable for the Indian middle class.

In those days,there was no funda of local and std sms(s) and I still remember that we had sms(s) free from 9 pm in night till early morning at 6, which was fully utilized ;).Whilst I say this, I am amazed at the power and importance of sms(s) offers during college, as in though I have some 250+ sms(s) free,every month, I hardly utilize them as much as in those days,as in which implies I have matured a little :P,nevertheless there is no doubt in youngsters utilizing power of sms(s) like anything ;)…

The best thing about mobile conversation which is often enhanced by the use of the text message as a sort of ‘trailer’, alerting friends to the fact that one is in possession of an interesting item of gossip, but without revealing the details, which are saved for a phone call or meeting.

“You can set someone up with a text message – create the anticipation of what you’re going to say, before you meet up with them. “In our text messages we write the word GOSSIP then dot dot dot so that you know you’re about to receive a bit of juicy gossip.” It’s like a sort of sneak preview thing, you know? I’ll just say enough in the text to get her interested, so when I phone he/she’s like “Oooh, what is it? Tell me! Tell me!”

Then another college funda of using mobile phone in college was ‘missed calls’. I think we made more ‘missed calls’ than the actual calls: P. Infact‘missed calls’ were used by many as substitute for actual real conversation/message. Through some really creative acquaintances ;), I got to know that they have proper set of words for the type of missed call they make:).

Then came a time of ‘unlimited calls’ offer and for we students especially the love birds or the aspiring love birds, this was no way less than a boon. There were many night outs on mobile phones having chatty talk about the details of personal matters and relationships, the sharing of secrets – more or less what we currently mean by gossip (with my beau).I was one of the subscriber to this offer, amongst so many in my college in particular.

Why do we talk so much on phone…and what trusted sources of information convey is, because it helps us to establish, develop and maintain relationships; to bond with other members of our social circle; to clarify our social position and status; to manage reputations; to learn social skills; to learn and reinforce shared values; to resolve conflicts; to build support networks; to win friends and influence people. We may also gossip because we are genetically programmed to do so. According to the psychologist Robin Dunbar (to whom I owe most of the above findings on gossip :)), chitchat is part of our evolutionary hard-wiring – perhaps even the single most important part. Language, he argues, evolved to allow us to tittle-tattle.

What I like the most is a particular tone of voice – high and quick, or sometimes a stage whisper, but always highly animated – which is important in generating a sense of excitement 🙂

“Gossip’s got to start with something like “Oooh – Guess what? Guess what?” or “Hey, listen, listen – you know what I heard?””

“You have to make it sound surprising or scandalous, even when it isn’t really. You’ll go “well, don’t tell anyone, but.” even when it’s not really that big of a secret.”

Many people I know bought their mobiles “just for emergencies”, but increasingly found themselves using the mobile for chatting and gossiping with friends and family, and now believe that the mobile provides a quite different kind of ‘social lifeline’. Some very common thing I heard:

“It was a safety thing to begin with, but now it keeps me in touch with the outside world.”

“It’s my only means of communication – I’d feel completely lost and lonely without it.”

“What you get out of it [mobile gossip] is a sense of being included, being trusted – a sense of belonging to a group”

“And also a sense that people care about you as well”

“Having your phone stolen turns your whole world upside down – without my phone, I feel left out of my social group”

For me, when it’s all getting me down, I’ll go to a quiet corner or even to the loo and call my boyfriend on my mobile – that’s the really good thing about mobiles is that it’s private… I can call from my mobile to my parents,cousins,friends and relatives and we’ll chat about family, food,bollywood and relationships… Even if I’m sitting at my desk it feels like I’m at home, that sort of warm feeling – it’s like I can escape from work into a different world for a bit, you know? A more familiar world! :).

Mobiles allow me to keep up with the small details of what’s going on in people’s lives, and that’s what makes me feel close to them. It allows me to maintain that relationship or friendship. It’s a connection – a feeling of bonding. It’s comforting. If I am bored on a train or fed up in traffic,I phone someone for a chat and feel better. Everyone’s so busy these days that it’s the only way of keeping in touch. I gossip more on the mobile with friends I don’t see often – I can report things to them as I hear them.

Those non stop calls from friends and loved ones on birthday and festivals…that early morning wake up call…that on time call on Valentine’s day….that fight too :P,when a date was forgotten…those pranks…those surprises…all the love,all the tantrums and all the arguments 😉 ….none of them will leave my memories ever 🙂

There are so many things,incidents,memories associated with mobile phones;I can go on and on and on…Even if we have no topic to talk about ,we can anytime talk about the latest mobile phones,latest talk plans,latest features on mobile phones ,sharing of songs between mobile phones and the best time pass or rather utilization 😉 would be photo sessions with our mobile cameras… :)No doubt that mobile phones are show stoppers on the ramp of activities with friends and families… 🙂

Conversations is, and always has been, good for us – essential to our social, psychological and even physical well-being. The mobile phone  is helping us to manage, acclimatize and endure. This is perhaps the most remarkable and significant impact: that a technological advance is helping to counter the unfavorable effects of previous technological advances. Mobile phones are re-creating the more normal, benevolent communication patterns of pre-industrial era: we are using space-age know-how to return to stone-age gossip!

Somehow,one thing I feel is…that due to the presence of the mobile phones with us,we do not talk to strangers when traveling anymore. In the past, several people waiting for a bus would engage in a conversation while they were waiting. People who traveled the same routes every day might develop friendships along the way. This situation does not happen anymore. Today when people are waiting for a bus, they just pull out their cell phones and speak with old friends, missing out on the opportunity to make new ones. In large cities, many people do not know their neighbors, even though they may have lived in the same neighborhood for years. As a society, we are beginning to lose the face-to-face contact that was such an important part of our lives in the past.

Cell phones are a great asset in aiding in our every day lives. We should remember, however, to hang up every once in a while and pay attention to the world around us!:)

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