chapter  1
The Question of Mobile Media
Pages 6

The idea of mobiles as media is no idle conceit, and it can be substantiated in a number of senses. Cellular mobile phones, devices, and networks can still be usefully conceptualized as telecommunications. And although telecommunications has been a minor and often overlooked part of media systems, it is actually vitally important. The mobile phone quite obviously presented itself as something that followed in the trajectory of the telephone, and then telecommunications. Quickly, though, mobiles have amounted to something quite different. As the substantial scholarship on text messaging shows, this extension of portable mobile phones built upon predecessor messaging technologies (notably the pager and wireless telegraphy, but also the fi xed-network technology of the telex). Text messaging took on a life of its own-spawning a career in technology that quickly moved beyond mere signal or data to direct suturing into youth culture, interactive television, mobile commerce, and so on.