Between M-Internet Users and Stakeholders: Convergence or Divergence?
Mobile phones’ sales are decreasing worldwide but smartphones sales show an exponential growth. This device results from the convergence between internet and mobile phones which support new uses other than voice communication. All these transformations have social consequences.
Our chapter deals with emerging adoption patterns of mobile internet use, the behaviors associated with it and the consequences thereof, focusing on the importance mobility has in shaping online activities and its relation with industrial stakeholders and individual users’ perspectives on the technology in it-self.
We argue that the social interactions allowed by mobile internet are key adoption drivers and that the type of access this technology offers influences the type of activities performed online. We also argue that M-internet access facilitates more interactive and participative activities that result in collective-based activities that, at the same time, depict a particular type of network based individualism. Such a process results in a tension between technological convergence and social divergence, namely if we consider how it reinforces strong ties within a close group while at the same time deteriorates the weak ties between society members as a whole.
Our research presents results from complementary qualitative and quantitative studies that encourage a discussion on the interdependencies between individual adoption patterns and market derived determinants in a socio-cultural environment where technology adoption and diffusion happens. Our study also contributes to a deeper understanding of mobile technology use, the value of mobility and the tension taking place between technological convergence and social divergence.
KeywordsSocial Capital Mobile Phone Mobile Device Technology Adoption Social Divergence
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