Cellphones playing cupid in India!
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Cellphones playing cupid in India!

While forces of globalisation, modernisation and hectic working schedules are prompting youngsters to stay at great distances

india Updated: Feb 16, 2007 19:55 IST

While forces of globalisation, modernisation and hectic working schedules are prompting youngsters to stay at great distances from their dear ones, cellular phones are facilitating them to bridge this gulf.

A new research focusing on the very personal side of personal computing has revealed that technology workers in Bangalore use mobile phones to bridge cultural differences, and make way for arranged marriages.

They also rely on the cell phones to maintain personal relationships, revealed the study conducted by doctoral student Carolyn Wei at the University of Washington's department of technical communication.

The research was conducted in Bangalore last summer and it included 20 people, aged 18-30, who had been working for foreign corporations. Each of them had lived in the City for less than two years.

More than half the study participants worked the graveyard shift because they provided technical support for people working during the daytime in North America.

"The people I studied were in this 24/7 environment and they were always on the go," Wei said.

She found that many study participants were involved in long-distance relationships with someone working or studying in another city. She also observed that the technology played a role in arranged marriages, something most of the participants considered as an option for finding a partner.

"The mobile phone makes it a little easier to facilitate an arranged marriage at a distance," Wei said.

She discovered instances where people used mobile phones to get to know partners vetted and approved by their parents.

The research also brought to light several instances where mobile phones played a crucial role in romance.

Wei noticed that working couples remained in touch by sending text messages to each other, and they could not stay apart from their mobiles.

Beth Kolko, Wei's advisor and an associate professor in the department of technical communication, researches how people in emerging markets, particularly in Central Asia, use new technologies.

"What Carolyn has done it take this really interesting element of youth culture -- courtship -- and identified how mobile phones interact with those pre-existing patterns of interaction. Technology doesn't trump culture, it doesn't change culture on its own, but it is a force that pushes against cultural patterns," Kolko said.

The study was presented at the IEEE International Professional Communication Conference recently.

First Published: Feb 17, 2007 06:00 IST