Mads' connected spaces

Connected spaces: Texting my way from public to private

I am having dinner in a public restaurant with a group of people I don’t know that well. The perfectly arranged white tables and constant mumbling from strangers around me, urge me to comply with proper manners and self governance. Following Goffman's metaphorical work on the micro interactional aspects of everyday life, I am situated and firmly grounded in a public setting and the rules implied to it. What happens now is that I receive a text message from my girlfriend. The small screen on my mobile phone makes it impossible for others beside me to derive the information and I connect with my perfect personal private sphere. While my fingers work their way from one button to another, I momentarily remove myself from my physical setting; as Manovich (2006: 221) puts it, a physical context intersects with a distant context via multimedia technology - my mobile phone. This distant context varies substantially from my physical embedded presence in the restaurant in the sense that the former is made up purely of immaterial elements; flows of information that easily penetrates mere bricks and building materiel. Adriana de Souza e Silva coins the situation in which mobile technologies interfere with physical space as "connected spaces"; the mix of social practices that happens simultaneously (2006: 269). In the hybrid, augmented spatial setting I manage to connect and disconnect by the push of a button. The restaurant is to be considered as my primary space; I am still largely present in physical space, while the display of the mobile phone adds another layer, but does not take over (Manovich, 2006: 225). As a socialized young man, I know that the switch from private to public entails a transformation to a stage with an audience where I am very aware of the image and information given off. Privately, I know that the information emitted do not serve the benefit of face-work (Goffman, 1963).



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