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Cell Phones and Personal Identity

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on 6 May 2015

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Transcript of Cell Phones and Personal Identity

13 years old (7th grade)
Samsung (Galaxy SIII) (Android)
Individual, Different
A “little odd”, “sometimes made fun of”
7 (leans towards Samsung and Galaxies in particular) because of brand loyalty and trust
Has a case for protection and only changes it out when it breaks
Changes when breaks, only goes for simplest, most protective, and cheapest cases
a) No influence from friends on phone
b) No influence from friends on case
Subject 1
Cell Phones and Personal Identity
A study by Kate Masters, Andrew Halsell, and Shaynna Prock
1) When did you get your first cell phone?
2) What type of cell phone do you use?
3) How would you describe other users of your phone
4) How do you think others perceive users of your brand of phone?
5) How important is the brand of your phone? (1-10)
6) How often do you switch your cell phone case?
7) How often do you switch your case? What does your case say about you?
8) Do your friends influence:
a) your choice in phone brand?
b) your choice in phone case?
We hypothesize that young adults view their cell phones as an extension of themselves, and thus choose their brand of cell phone and the casing/s for their phone based on how they think it will make others perceive them, as well as the image they themselves wish to project. We also hypothesize that image projection is more important and socially influenced for females than for males.
"I've Stamped My Personality All Over It": The Meaning of Objects in Teenage Bedroom Space (Sian Lincoln)
Hooking Up and Opting Out (Lisa Wade)
Mobiles and the Norwegian Teen: Identity, Gender, and Class (Berit Skog)
Research Question
For our final project, we intend to answer the question: How do young adults shape their identities through the kind of case and brand they choose for their mobile phones? We are interested in whether conscious identity construction is present when young adults select a particular brand of cell phone and a particular casing, and how those choices contribute to their sense of self.
Subject 3
17 years old
Got her first cell phone when she was 12
Uses an iPhone
Describes iPhone users as teenagers, people who aren't as good with technology (no strong identity associations)
Says some people "judge" iPhones/Apple users, but she isn't personally negatively perceived—says she is judged more on phone use than brand of phone
Importance of brand: 9-10 (Wouldn't use any brand but iPhone)
Rarely switches out her case anymore: consistently uses an Otterbox
Will switch case if it gets dirty, but her case preference is based more on functionality/protective abilities than influence from friends or wanting to project a certain image, but does think it says something about her personality
Subject 4
20 years old
Got her first cell phone when she was 13
Uses an iPhone
Describes iPhone users as "the norm"—no strong identity perceptions, it's just the most popular brand with the most features
Says some people perceive her as following the trend
Importance of brand: 10 (Wouldn't ever use another brand because iPhones are easier to use and she's used to them)
Never switches out her case: consistently uses an Otterbox because she once shattered her phone screen and wants to protect it
Started laughing when I asked if her case said anything about her—case not major component of identity building
Does think her friends influence the brand of phone she uses in some way, but doesn't think she was influenced by their case choices
Otterboxes are popular, but because of functionality
5th grade
Apple (I-Phone 6)
“White-People”, “Main-stream Hipsters”
Accepted, Independent
9.8 (Trusts the brand, Easy to transition from current I-phone to another)
No case currently, but generally switches about once every six months
When she has no case- Daring/Careless
With protective case- Careful, Responsible
Flashy/Blingy- Girly-girl, Airhead
a) Definitely for the first phone (Now stays from experience and brand loyalty)
b) No influence from friends for cases
Subject 2
21, Male
16 years old
techies- the kind of people who always have to have the latest thing (not me)
“no idea, I don’t think about it”
3- “only because I already know how to use iPhones”
Has a case that someone else purchased for him as a gift, has never switched.
“maybe a little- it has camo and I’m outdoorsy”
a. no influence
b. no influence
Subject 5
20 year old, female
13 years old
Windows phone (htc)
More interested in business aspects than the latest game apps
different, uncommon
5- “I usually try to get something different than the one that I’ve had for a while”
Doesn’t have a case- hard to find for her phone.
"If I had a case it would probably represent one of my interests, but I don’t think my lack of a case says anything. I just can’t find one that fits."
friends have no influence on her choice in phone or case
Our hypothesis was incorrect. Based on the data we have gathered, young adults view cell phone brands and cases as an extension of themselves, but the way others perceive them is not a major influence in their decisions. Most brands and cases were chosen based on brand-loyalty, trust, and functionality.
Subject 6
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