Clark Quinn's Learnings about Learning
(The Official Quinnovation blog)

26 July 2012

You know you’re mobile when…

Clark @ 5:22 AM

I was thinking about the different ways you can be mobile, and I think it’s broader than most people think.  So I tried to capture it in a diagram.  For once, I’m not particularly happy with it, but in the spirit of ‘thinking out loud’…

When are you mobile?

The notion is there that you’re mobile when you’re not at your desk with your desktop or even laptop. Now, sometimes you have a laptop with you, but increasingly I think it’ll be tablet or just a pocketable device (and see my earlier distinctions around those, particularly that laptops don’t typically count).  When you’re at your desk, you’re clearly using your desktop or laptop for work, and you’re not mobile.

With the caveat that if the organization is blocking access to some sites (e.g. any search term like ‘game’ or social media site like Facebook and Twitter), you’re highly likely to use your  mobile device to get around this. Rightly so, I must say. Increasingly your network is part of your brain and your solution set, and anyone who’d block it is keeping you from being as effective as possible. If they’re worried about, or you really aren’t using it for work purposes, the problem is not the network.

Now, you can be out of your particular workspace but still in either your own office, a satellite office, or even in someone else’s office (e.g. client or partner’s office), but you’re in an office. You may be having meetings, making a site visit, whatever.  I reckon attending a conference or a workshop is similar.  There you are mobile, unless you’ve lugged your desktop with you (umm, no).  Again, increasingly it’ll be a tablet or a pocketable.

And there’s the particular situation of being ‘on the go’, when you’re actually in motion, in a way station (in a shop, restaurant, coffeeshop, or pub), or even some place where there’s no real seating (factory floor, for example).  There you’re far more likely to be using your pocketable device in opposition to the laptop or tablet.

You’ll still be accessing your social network, too.  More so; you’ll not only getting answers and assistance, but updating people as well.

There are a couple of unique situations.  One is attending a virtual meeting. At your desktop, you’d use it.  When in another context, you can use your laptop or your tablet.  It’s not quite as feasible with a pocketable device (though that will change).  Your mobile, but your part of an out-of-context or virtual context event, so it’s conceptually distinct, though practically it may not be.

The other is context-specificity. If the device is doing something unique because of where or when you are, it’s really a different situation than accessing just any content or capability you need.  Particularly if the interaction is context-specific.  And capturing  your context, with media, really is a different category.

The point I’m trying to make is that, particularly in the middle category, mobile is more ubiquitous than you think. You know you’re mobile when you’re not at your desk.  And that’s an increasing amount of the time for most people.  Which is healthier anyway.


  1. […] You know you’re mobile when… […]

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  2. Clark, you raise a really good point here which I hadn’t considered, even though though I am never separated from my mobile devices. I like the notion of the “standard office” where increasingly mobile is part of our way of working and our mindset.

    Comment by Ara Ohanian — 31 July 2012 @ 12:24 PM

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