Haddon’s article critically analyses the new uses of emerging communication media, and its role in our lives. Haddon specifically demonstrates the role of media in shaping our communication practices, both with the emergence of new technology, and the decline of obsolete methods of communication.
One of Haddon’s first points that emphasise his argument, is that looking at communication as a singular practice, whether through on or more mediums, is wrong. Haddon looks at communication as an expanded use of media, where using mobile phones for example, doesn’t begin nor end with the mobile phone itself, rather continues through our everyday lives, through handing out phone numbers, turning the mobile on or off, changing SIM cards or borrowing other people’s phones. Haddon emphasises that there is no boundary with communication. These practices influence our experience of communication, and subsequently the decisions we make in our everyday lives through our patterns of media usage.
Further, Haddon demonstrates the continuity of media, using examples of communication and media technologies from the past. Haddon shows how the evolution of communication technology doesn’t rest on the creation of new mediums, thus rendering old ones obsolete. Rather, he emphasises the fluidity of technology, and how communication now has many lineages back to older technologies, e.g. computer games displaying links to video arcade machines in the past. This shows the readers how communication cannot be looked at from a narrow-minded view, rather must be observed from a holistic perspective.
Haddon then goes on to explain how, with emerging forms of communication technology, comes the ability to use pre-existing mediums in new ways. Mobile phone usage in subsequently influenced by economic factors and financial costs, as new methods of communication emerge. Haddon further explains how technology in essence allows and constrains us of communication technology.
Ultimately, Haddon attempts to portray the vast possibilities of communication technology, and how the users themselves control these possibilities, rather than limiting ourselves to the constraints of these forms of communication technology. Haddon wants readers to look at media in the larger sense, allowing a broad understanding of the social and cultural implications of communication.
Haddon, Leslie. “Research Questions for the Evolving Communications Landscape.” In Ling, Rich and Pedersen, Per, Eds. Mobile Communications: Renegotiation of the Social Sphere. London: Springer – Verlag, 2005 pg. 7 – 22