Monday, August 23, 2004

Photo messaging

Sending pictures via the mobile phone isn't such a big hit as the mobile operators would have hoped, according to the Finnish paper Tekniikka & Talous. There's already been sent over a billion text messages this year in Finland, but only a couple of millions multi media messages. This is quite fascinating when considering that half more than of all the mobile phones sold today have a camera, and people tend to update their phones relatively often.

One of the possible reasons for this is the lack of synchronization. Since the screens and amount of pixels differ in many phones, the pictures sent don't always reach the receiver properly.

Professor Machiko Kusahara from Japan talked about the mobile phone culture (Ketai) in Japan at the ISEA conference. According to her, moblogging is very popular in Japan and the camera function in the phones is highly appreciated. It's not unusual to see someone reaching their hand up in the air, taking a picture of what is actually happening in the crowd in front of them. The mobile phone becomes an extension of your body (McLuhan's famous notion), in this case, the eyes that don't see what's going on due to the crowd.

While Kusahara claims that many women use the mobile phones and the camera function (many mobile phone ads are directly aimed at women) in Japan, English Nina Wakeford found that the four London lads she studied weren't interested at all in photo messaging. What they wanted was to sit down at the pub and show the picture to their friends and talk about it there. Someone in the audience commented that he had reached the same conclusion in his study, that kids don't seem to be interested in multi media messaging, and he asked Wakeford what she makes of this. She replied that people want to share the context and discuss the photo face to face with others, and not only share the picture as such.

According to the article I mentioned above, the average Sonera connection user sends one photo message per year, but more than one text message per day. I took a couple of photos with my mobile at the conference, here's one of professor Kusahara.


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