In examining the cultural shift toward digital culture, it is often the impermanent character of social relations that critics find most disturbing. After all, the pitch for life in the information age is a sociality determined by romantic "hook-ups," project-based work teams, and one-time synchronized group actions in game worlds or other online spaces.
As someone who grew up in a single house, attended the same prep school with a graduating class of fifty-something for ten years, met her romantic partner and most of her close friends decades ago through a college organization, and has had her own kids growing up in the same house for the past fourteen years, I will admit to being profoundly attached to stable, social relationships. Thus, it's easy for me to act shocked by this kind of guide aimed at young users of mobile cellular technology, even though I came of age in an era of "Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover" and other songs of evanescent experience. (Click to enlarge.)
And yet, booklets like this can't help but make me think that something is being commodified and merchandised that isn't necessarily part of digital culture. My kids are maintaining friendships from grade school, despite lives spent in different time zones, thanks to social networking technology and their own sense of control of their telephonic destiny.