When I started reading the material for the Mobile Information Environments, I reflected on my own phone usage. In fact, I listened to the lecture podcast while making an hour and a half car trip over the weekend, read most of the readings on my phone while I was waiting for a food order at a restaurant, and watched some ‘explore’ videos before I went to bed. As I thought more about it, I realized that I rarely use my cell phone for traditional communicative purposes. I definitely fit into the Deloitte (2016) demographic study on cell phone usage. However, that was for cell phone users in the United Kingdom. This prompted me to go to good ol’ Pew Research Center. I found an article from 2015 titled 6 facts about Americans and their smartphones. The data from this article show similar findings of my age group using their smartphones the most. I thought that it was interesting that the majority of smartphone users has used their phones for other important information needs; information on health, online banking, real estate, job searching and job applications, government services, and educational content.
Reading Stephens’ Serving the User When and Where They Are: Hyperlinked Libraries (2015) was a good way to introduce some of the mobile device, hyperlinked ideas. As an avid smartphone user, I am aware of the several amenities that are available on cell phones today. However, it is easy to overlook the possibilities of using those amenities to the advantage of the library. I guess even I still have some bad “judging a book by its cover” habits, but I also have yet to see positively reinforced cell phone usage in libraries just as Stephens suggests in Mobile at the Library (2013). Anyway, there were several cool ideas that I had not considered for libraries before such as geolocation, second screen sharing, and mobile gaming environments.
Another idea that captivated my interest was the “Beacon” technology that Ennis (2014) describes. I also have quite a few Bluetooth devices that I use frequently (smartphone, speakers, headphones), but I hardly use the Bluetooth capabilities for interactions with other people or locations. While I think this idea is fun, my immediate worry was being spammed by these beacons. Ennis iterates that the beacons would only work for the people who initially agree to be a part of it, which I think is very important. I have been irritated lately with how many advertisement texts I receive. There is really no way for me to tell what company has my phone number to send me these ads. Overall, I think that the beacon technology would be very helpful for in-the-library, patron-specific purposes like letting a person know when an event is starting or informing people when they still have a book checked out.
Finally, I think the aspect of mobile information environments that I love the most is the ease of navigating through several hyperlinks. I am definitely the type of person who reads an article (often pop culture related or celebrity gossip) and ends up following a train of links to some obscure story or informative article. Wikipedia is an app my boyfriend and I use often and make a game of who can find information the quickest (me). I end up finding out a lot of information that I did not even know that I wanted to know. Something sparks my interest and sets me down a path of webpages that I never would have found otherwise. I know that this is possible on a computer, but something about scrolling through a slim, vertical screen makes me feel like I’m reading and navigating much faster than I would looking at a laptop.