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Adam Babcock

If Romeo and Juliet had mobile phones | Networked - 13 views

    • Adam Babcock
      Yeah... but "wherefore" translates to "why" in our contemporary language...
  • would have allowed Romeo and Juliet to move around, liberated from locale and parental surveillance. They would have been less worried about their families when they were figuring out where to meet. At the same time, their parents would have felt reassured because they could call their children and ask where they were and what they were doing. But, would Romeo and Juliet have told the truth? A location-aware app would also have been useful for parents in tracking them. Or they might have prowled friends’ Facebook updates or photo albums for clues.
  • Romeo and Juliet could find each other now because mobility means accessibility and availability. They’d be on each other’s top-five speed dial. And they would probably have had a location-aware app that that showed exactly where each other were: no wandering the streets of Verona looking for each other.
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  • Public spaces have become more silent, as people concentrate on their text messages, while downwardly-peering texters have limited eye contact.
  • Imagine Romeo making plans to meet Juliet in the park, but his father calls to say that he has to come home immediately. At least, the mobile connection would have allowed Romeo to alert Juliet to his role conflict and possible absence.
  • As long as they talked or texted in private, neither the Montagues nor the Capulets would know – unless, of course, they snuck peeks at the list of previous calls and texts on the phones. Instead of a phone ringing in a home—where all would hear it and possibly become part of the conversation—internet communication and mobile communication are usually exchanges between two individuals.
  • Mobile contact has become multigenerational, as teens—and even children—are increasingly getting their own mobile phones. This affords people of all ages opportunities to become more autonomous agents.
  • As they grew up, Romeo and Juliet had gotten past their childhoods of being household and neighborhood bound.  They made contact by encounters in public places. Teens still do that—the shopping mall is the new agora—but their mobile phones also afford continuous contact with their homes and distant friends.
  • If they are right, Romeo and Juliet might never look up from their mobile phones to see each other. Or, would the course of true love have led them away from their screens and into each other’s arms?
  • The story of Romeo and Juliet is the story of two individuals escaping the bounds of their densely knit groups. It is a story of the social network revolution that began well before Facebook: the move from group-bound societies to networked individuals. This turn to networked individualism transforms communication from being place-based to person-based.
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