Anders' hybrid space: The state library

I’m not a user of 3G cell phones, Facebook, PDA’s, Ipods or the like, so de Souza’s points don’t resonate well with me personally. Still, in my everyday life there are some aspects that can be related to his notion of hybrid space. When I am at home or on campus (which naturally is the two places where I spend the majority of my study time), my netbook is automatically connected to the Internet through wireless connections.

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Following de Souza, I guess this constant connectivity transforms the various physical spaces where I go throughout the day. My example of a hybrid space will be the state library, where I often go to study – for some reason I read more efficiently when situated in their study hall.

“The possibility of an ‘always-on’ connection when one moves through a city transforms our experience of space by enfolding remote contexts inside the present context. This connection is related both to social interactions and to connections to the information space, that is, the Internet.” (Adriana de Souza e Silva: From Cyber to Hybrid: Mobile Technologies as Interfaces of Hybrid Spaces, p. 262)

The state library can be viewed as a social space where people basically do not know each other – environment shields invoked and all that. In the study hall conversation is not allowed, and your personal space is restricted to a small cubicle. Still, the anonymity is not exactly alarming (as long as you are focused on your reading). But then comes lunch break…

If you are not meeting a friend for lunch, your lunch break will confront you with the fact that you are basically anonymous and alone in the crowd. During breaks or meals we normally converse with others, which is not an option if you are there on your own. This can be uncomfortable for some people.

But being connected to virtual social communities/networks and the totality of the Internet through your mobile communication device may contribute to the construction of a hybrid space which does not constitute feeling “alone in the crowd”.

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