ideas, innovations and apps for social work in the age of smartphones and social media 

The Best (and Worst) of Mobile Connectivity | Pew Internet & American Life Project [VIDEO]

Mobile phone owners like the convenience and ease of connectivity, but rue that they can be interrupted more easily, have to pay the bills, and face bad connections.

Some 85% of American adults now own a cell phone of some kind, and these devices mean many things to their owners: an always-available link to friends and family, a pocket computer, or a time-saving tool — even an actual telephone. When asked to describe in their own words what they like most about owning a cell phone:

  • 17% of cell owners say the best thing about their phone is that it is convenient.
  • 12% like the ability to call or talk with others at any time.
  • 11% like that their cell phone can help them get assistance in an emergency.
  • 9% say that using the internet, email, or apps is the best thing about their mobile phone.
  • 8% cite the ability to connect with family.

The word cloud below illustrates some of the more common responses to this question:

However, the convenience and constant connectivity that these mobile devices offer also comes with a downside in the form of annoyances, interruptions, and cost. When asked what they like least about owning a cell phone:

  • 24% of cell owners say that the worst thing about cell ownership is that they are constantly available and can be reached at any time.
  • 15% say that the cost of cell ownership is the thing they like least.
  • 12% cite problems with bad reception, poor signal, or dropped calls.
  • 8% cite problems with battery life as the thing they like the least.
  • 8% point to interruptions from telemarketers and other unwanted callers as their primary annoyance.

The word cloud below illustrates some of the more common complaints:

Overall, cell owners are far more likely to view their phone as a time-saver than as a time-waster. Some 33% of cell owners agree with the statement that their phone “saves you time because they can always access the information you need,” while just 3% agree with the statement that their phone “costs you time because you are constantly being distracted or interrupted.” The largest proportion of cell owners (56%) say that the time costs and time savings offered by cell phones pretty much balance each other out.

You can find the study via Overview | Pew Internet & American Life Project.


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Lutz Siemer

Lutz Siemer

Education, Research & Development in Social Work & IT After working as an alternative practitioner and psychotherapist in private practice for nearly ten years I stepped over to higher education in 2005. At Saxion University of Applied Sciences I lecture and do research and development in the area of Social Work, Psychology and IT. Currently I'm focussing on merging mobile technology and social work.

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