'The relationship between technology and the users of technology is mutual: we are changing each other'

- Dr. Sadie Plant

A recent Motorola-sponsored study has discovered that young people who regularly use mobile phones especially for texting, have extraordinarily strong, flexible and dextrous thumbs. This generation grew up with the Game Boy, and now use the phones to transact their daily business and social lives. The strength and control of their thumbs is hardly surprising; it's not even much of a stretch to believe that their thumbs are better developed that their other digits.

The surprising conclusion of the report is that the thumb has come to take over roles normally associated with the other fingers. Pointing and ringing doorbells are now routinely done with the thumb. I find it remarkable that such a change in how we use our hands has come about in so short a period of time. In Japan, such people have become known as the oya yubi sedai- The thumb tribe or generation. pi comments that thumbs may be even more advanced in Japan because they are already used to horrible text entry methods for kanji.

The study spanned several nations; and was carried out by Dr Sadie Plant of Warwick University's Cybernetic Culture Research Unit.

AnotherMartini has found the original report: http://www.motorola.com/mediacenter/industry/background/0,1083,,00.html
S/he thinks it's a bit dodgy because of poor science and corporate sponsorship. See below. I don't think that the use the findings are put to is important for the purposes of my writeup; the sources I used didn't mention Motorola once. Nor does my w/u. Now; if the findings were completely fabricated that would be another matter. I don't think they were.

Damn straight he/she think this is all a bit dodgy. It all smells fishy because you've just been guerilla marketed to.

...and the Fish can Sing!

Apart from a novel by Nobel prize winning Icelandic author, Halldor Laxness, The fish can sing are an ad agency based in Amsterdam. Currently they're running a campaign for Motorola as follows:

Client - Motorola

Aim - support advertising launch of combined phone and txt messaging device - vbox.

Audience - youth 16-24.

Style and tone - anti-establishment, secretive and subversive.

Idea - involved creating a ‘stop the vbox’ pressure group dedicated to combating the youth phenomenon of text messaging. The campaign incorporated an academic report into generation text, a bogus viral email, a spoof website ‘stopthevbox.com’, mpeg movies, detector vans, and some street-based stencils. All centrally packaged in a toolkit for local markets to execute. Toolkit included a CD with all artwork references, plus media information Part of the fish can sing's goals are to use the category of "news" as an advertising medium, generating press around the "academic report", and correspondingly word of mouth support. We're talking about text messaging now, and the pseudo-scientific term "Technophile's Thumb". They've already won half of the battle.

Fightin' the Fish

People manipulate the mass media on a regular basis. News is a commercial venture and will generally publish virtually unedited press releases for reasons of ratings, economies of scale, or corporate culture. It is important to realise that news is trying to sell you something. If you can ask yourself, "What is this news trying to sell me?" and instantly come up with an unambiguous answer, chances are the news you are seeing comes straight from a public relations firm, like the singing fish people.

Nothing is immune to advertising. Not you. Not Everything2. That's why business pay for advertisements and not subliminal messages. However, you can minimise some of the effects, simply by questioning the message.

Don't trust "science"

Don't get me wrong, science kicks ass. The sort of science that appears in peer-reviewed journals, and not say, newspapers or timecube.com. Be incredibly suspicious of anything that purports to scientific and does not cite a decent journal, even if it was written by a doctor - in this case Doctor of Philosophy Sadie Plant.

Never leave scientific news unquestioned. News gives science a bad name, and if you can divorce the science from the ads, you're already one step ahead.

blockquote from http://www.thefishcansing.com. Emphasis is mine

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