A nephew wanted to know how I could send my articles to The National newspaper every week from the village where there are no modern amenities or electricity.
The curiosity of the nephew made me realize that many people think of using mobile phones for ringing and text messages only. Others use their mobile phones for music, radio, photos, and even as torch light in the night.
The conversation I had with my nephew revealed that many people are still learning about the power and impact the mobile phone and other media technologies have on their lives.
We live in a society that is already saturated with media technologies. The choice is ours to make on what technologies to use and for what purposes.
‘We need to take advantage of the technology at our disposal’ as the adage goes. Indeed, the willingness to select the technologies relevant for our purposes is the first step on the road to advancing our goals and broadening of our visions.
There are many different reactions to some of the technologies. These reactions are both fictitious and facts depending on the side people take.
Mobile phones, for example, have generated mostly negative reactions rather than positive reactions. Positive reactions to the use and management of mobile phones are left unsaid.
Mobile phones in Papua New Guinea have changed the way we do things in our lives. The introduction of mobile phones impacted a whole generation of people.
Mobile phones removed the false divide between the haves and the have-nots in Papua New Guinea. I remember in the early days of mobile phones in Papua New Guinea people talked about the fun and unimaginable actions of the grassroots or a betel nut vendor with a mobile.
Digicel rating was very high at the dawn of mobile phone communication in PNG. It deserves the credit for being the catalyst.
Remember in the early days mobile users in Papua New Guinea were using the basic phones with limited functions. Once the limitations were a-thing of the past mobile phone users relished the pleasures of accessing the information super highway with access to various functions on their mobile.
Part of the reason has to do with the competition between different carriers such as Digicel, Citiphone, and Telikom to woe customers to their business operations. Another reason is for the services such as costs of units, accessibility, and promotional services each company provides to customers.
Some of the amazing experiences I have with mobile phones are worth telling the world. In recent times I have been using the mobile phone to access my Gmail, transfer documents and music from my laptop to the mobile phone using the Bluetooth function, and to communicate with colleagues and friends across various geo-political boarders.
In recent months I have been using my mobile phone to capture beautiful images of my holiday in Wewak, which were then posted on the Facebook, made book covers, and provided images for this column.
I relied on my mobile phone to send my articles to The National for publishing every Friday for the last two months. It was easier to get Flex cards where I was.
Using the mobile phone for work seems to be the tool of the present. I was able to post 300 pages of manuscript of a novel to the USA for publishing using my mobile phone.
Important documents are downloaded from my laptop to my mobile phone using the Bluetooth function. Once the documents are available in the OfficeSuite function of my Alcatel Onetouch phone I can then use the Gmail program to send the documents off to whomever it is addressed to.
I can download both PDF and Word files on my mobile phone. During working hours I use my mobile phone to communicate with other professionals in a city where power outages affects computers and the work we do on computers.
I acknowledge mobile phones created new challenges for us as a people. Mobile phones have been blamed for all kinds of social problems the society faces. The view that mobile phones are responsible for social, moral, and cultural erosion comes from one segment of the society.
Another segment of society ignores such problems by arguing that mobile phones if managed, controlled, and used properly can empower one’s life.
Either way the mobile phone is here to stay. Papua New Guineans can get left out or take advantage of the media technologies available to us. Mobile phones are part of our lives now.
I have one last experience to share with readers. I brought my father to Port Moresby some years back. I bought him one of the cheap mobile phones at that time. He was taught how to use a mobile phone. Soon after I began to realize that the money my friends or I gave him never stayed with him. He used the money for Flex cards every day. It was not such a good idea at all to introduce him to a mobile phone. Is it worth it?
To save cost I use my mobile phone calling function in an emergency situation, to return an important call, or to make money. If I use the Gmail and Facebook then it will cost me money. To save cost all I have to do is either put off the mobile phone or deactivate functions such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, data connection, GPS, and auto rotation.
Managing a mobile phone is a way of life that we must also embrace.
I am left to think that mobile phones are useful gadgets that we will depend on to make a difference, whether good or bad, in our lives in the foreseeable future. If we want good results we use our mobile in the best way possible to get such results.
Papua New Guinea faces some of the same issues and challenges other countries face with the introduction of mobile phones. Lessons from some of these countries can help us in understanding our own experiences.