“Mobile phones are a created necessity, but one that can be useful for other purposes”
Zamoran has been living in Los Angeles for 12 years and has consistently maintained the belief that mobile phones are created necessities that we, as consumers, have now become addicted to. Throughout the years her friends, colleagues and family have repeatedly asked her why she refuses to purchase a mobile phone, and she has adamantly insisted that she simply does not need one and never will. After hearing news stories about the different ways that mobile phones were being used across the world, Zamoran began to consider the potential for cell phones to be something more than an unnecessary luxury. While still maintaining a firm belief that everyone does not need a mobile phone, she opened her mind to the possibility that mobile phones could be used in new and useful ways. News stories and anecdotes about the usefulness of mobile phones were not enough to convince Zamoran to purchase one, and to this day she admits that, financial constraints aside, it would be somewhat of a personal defeat if she were to purchase a mobile phone for herself.
“When I really like something I tend to be very expressive and say ‘I love it’, well that is exactly how I feel about Mobile Voices, I love it!”
When introduced to Mobile Voices, however, Zamoran was intrigued by the possibility of learning how to create stories with the same piece of technology that she had so adamantly resisted. “I just love learning new things and creating things” she says “and this project lets me do that in ways that I had never imagined.” Zamoran produces stories about anything she comes across in her everyday life. When she interviews the person sitting next to her on the bus, which she often does, she is usually asked questions about what she is doing and why she is doing it. To describe Mobile Voices Zamoran points to the often biased and filtered coverage of commercial television and radio as motivation behind the project. “I always say that I work on a project…and that this project is to make the voiceless heard,” she describes. Zamoran sometimes stops to think about the trajectory that this project has taken. Starting from an idea based on popular communication and growing into a financially supported media project, Mobile Voices has come a long way. “It has much more potential,” she says, “we still need to make sure that it works every time but right now it is strong.” Zamoran believes in the potential for this project to reach a wider audience, she feels that once others are introduced to it they will become as excited about it as she is.
“Mobile Voices is a way for your perspective, crooked or straight, to be heard. Whether it’s important information or not, what matters is that you are heard.”
Many of Zamoran’s stories are about people she meets on the bus, people who are going to work or coming back from work and stop for a moment to tell her what is on their mind. Zamoran conducts a brief interview, explains the project to them and gives them the Mobile Voices website so that they can access the blog. If she runs into her interviewees again, she reminds them to look at the blog and motivates them to participate. Zamoran admits that people sometimes tease her about her involvement in the project. They remind her how she would always say that she would never use a cell phone yet now they see her doing more things with a phone than most people ever will. Her previous hesitations about mobile phones and technology in general stem from the observation that technology becomes updated so quickly. “For young people it’s easier but for me it’s difficult to keep up” she jokes. “They always sell us new and better things. I ran into someone who had a $400 cell phone and I thought that was just ridiculous.” Zamoran now uses the project phone on a daily basis; she uploads content as much as possible and is constantly recording audio and taking photographs. She has also started sending text messages to her family in Phoenix and seems very pleased by the fact that she can now easily and affordably communicate with her loved ones.
• Zamoran hates the phone she’s currently working with. It only records 30-second audio clips and it has had problems uploading her content. She doesn’t understand why this phone has a 30-second limit, it seems useless because when she is interviewing someone the conversation is obviously going to last more than 30 seconds, and it interrupts the flow if she has to stop and start the phone. She has one story that turned out to be 6 separate audio clips because it was very long, and now she doesn’t know how to combine these clips. It would be easier if the phone would record like an audio recorder and let her produce longer pieces. Her frustrations with this phone have led her to consider using a digital audio recorder and a camera instead, then creating stories on the computer by combining audio and images.
• She becomes very frustrated when she sends things to the blog and they don’t show up. Briefly mentions that she wishes things would move faster but she understands that the project is limited and that there will inevitably be flaws in the technology and flaws in the way in which the technology can be used. Yet she admits that at times she becomes very impatient, much of this comes from the excitement that she feels when learning how to do new things and wanting them to work from the start.
• Zamoran would like to learn moviemaker or other similar software. She would like to take the stories she has already created and make them better. She thinks there are many new things she can learn combining the coverage created on the phone and computer applications.
• One of her interviewees accessed the blog to look at Zamoran’s stories. She wanted to add comments to the page and asked Zamoran how to do it but she didn’t know. She told her she would get back to her and show her how to do it but she hasn’t had time. This is something she would like to know so that others can become involved and actively participate on the blog.
• Zamoran has audio and images on a disk and she would like to transfer them onto the computer. She has more than 7 hours of coverage during the strike. There are many stories that can be created using this footage.