query: cell phones and organizing

colist-admin at comm-org.utoledo.edu colist-admin at comm-org.utoledo.edu
Mon Nov 5 22:12:00 CST 2001

[ed:  thanks to Margo and David for the further thoughts on cell 
phones and organizing.  A can't resist comment from me at the 

From: "MARGO MENCONI" <malyme at hotmail.com>

Whether cell phones are elitist or not depends on the context.  I 
believe it was World Press Review had a special issue not long ago 
on the digital divide.  I was surprised that some countries in Africa 
are getting more and more cell phones, including owned by poor 
people.  I guess in those placeplaces, it's a lot cheaper, more 
accessible and reliable than other forms of communication, 
including e-mail!  I guess they could use cell phones for organizing 
in such places.

Margo Menconi  


From: "David Haschka, S.J." <dhaschka at jesuit.org>

Only a Minnesotan would worry about such a question. I was 
involved in CO in St. Paul in the late 90ies and all the professional 
organizers had wireless phones -- but they kept them carefully 
hidden in purses and briefcases. By now, I would think: any 
organizer, pro or volunteer, who didn't prominently display at least 
one wireless device would be one with a serious self-esteem 

I live and work in DC now ("the district" to us insiders.) Here the 
street beggars carry wireless phones. In fact, the only people who 
don't carry wireless phones are the really rich and/or powerful who 
have their body-guards or personnel aides handle such pedestrian 
matters as phone calls.  

I do remember a community leader in Saint Paul who drove to 
meetings and actions in her husbands big red Cadillac Sedan 
Deville. Now that was embarrassingly!  


[ed:  as someone who still claims to be from Minneapolis regardless 
of where I actually now live, my favorite Minnesotaism is when you 
ask someone how the play was and, rather than saying it stunk, we 
say noncommitally "it was interesting."  It makes organizing a 
challenge because getting people riled up can be half the battle.]

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