This post continues my thoughts on qualities of digital tools that have helped make political and artistic expression more subjective, accessible and fluid. In the previous post, we looked at the searchability of text. In this post I examine the impact of mobility: the ability afforded by digital tools to access vast troves of information, to communicate, to record, and to create from virtually anywhere on the planet.
There are at least three significant capabilities of digital technologies that have been shaped by portability: mobile commerce, access to news and information, and visual communications. Each of these capabilities accelerated significantly with the development of the “smartphone” – in particular the Apple iPhone in 2007 – but were inherent in mobile technologies from their initiation. Below, I discuss each quality in turn and identify some of its impacts.