Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Tethered Self in Cuba

I found some interesting thoughts from the article written by Turkel, The Tethered Self. Wearable and portable mobile devices allow us to being socially active all the time, no matter where we are and who are around us,"The traveling body is contacting others" reminds me a person on my Chinese Facebook site "renren". There is a guy who was posting his picture in Thailand every moment. It's like a live broadcasting of someone's traveling.

Recently I went to Cuba, where internet is not allowed to use (for locals) and is super slow. Thus, people don't have Facebook, twitter, even E-mail. Also, mobile phone is almost 0.8 dollars/minute (personal income is $20-30 per month), so most of people only use telephone booth. So, what happens if the cost of communication is very expensive?

First, I found that most people talk a lot, face to face. If you ask for directions, they give you a lot of details, such as "go straight on this road, turn left at the first corner, you will see a cow is eating grass, then keep left, the road is unpaved, you may see beach on the right side...." Partly it might because people are kind to travelers, but might because communication expense are so high in Cuba, they always try to deliver all the information at one time.

Second, people spend more time on the street. No matter in Centra Havana or some small towns in the south, you can see people just sit on the street and watch cars and horses come and go. Sometimes they were sitting in groups but they don't talk too much. They just watch people. I think we may have more "small talks", such as "have you heard....." or "did you see the news..." in the U.S. compare to these people in Cuba.

Also, they don't care about time. If you ask the taxi driver to come at 11:00am, he may come around 11:40 and still seems like haven't eat breakfast. Because there is no way to reach him or text him to be hurry, we just wait, and start watching people on the street.

Third, people tend to have similar thoughts, not only about the opinions of society, but also the believes. I have talked to many young people in Cuba, such as their opinions about the government, communist party, economy, and what they believe is happiness, their answers are incredibly similar.

I think there are a lot of things that would be interesting for study network communication in Cuba, and how these relate to their personal identity workshop. Today, we can hardly image how our life will be without internet and cell phone, and I know most of my new friends through their posts on social media. But how are we going to communicate in a environment without interent?

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