The message of this book is simple: the mobile phone strengthens socialbonds among family and friends. With a traditional land-line telephone, we placecalls to a location and ask hopefully if someone is "there"; with a mobilephone, we have instant and perpetual access to friends and family regardless ofwhere they are. But when we are engaged in these intimate conversations with absentfriends, what happens to our relationship with the people who are actually in thesame room with us? In New Tech, New Ties, Rich Ling examines how the mobiletelephone affects both kinds of interactions--those mediated by mobile communicationand those that are face to face. Ling finds that through the use of various socialrituals the mobile telephone strengthens social ties within the circle of friendsand family--sometimes at the expense of interaction with those who are physicallypresent--and creates what he calls "bounded solidarity." Ling argues thatmobile communication helps to engender and develop social cohesion within the familyand the peer group. Drawing on the work of Emile Durkheim, Erving Goffman, andRandall Collins, Ling shows that ritual interaction is a catalyst for thedevelopment of social bonding. From this perspective, he examines how mobilecommunication affects face-to-face ritual situations and how ritual is used ininteraction mediated by mobile communication. He looks at the evidence, includinginterviews and observations from around the world, that documents the effect ofmobile communication on social bonding and also examines some of the other possiblyproblematic issues raised by tighter social cohesion in small groups.Rich Ling isSenior Researcher at the Norwegian telecommunications company Telenor and AdjunctResearch Scientist at the University of Michigan. He is the author of The MobileConnection: The Cell Phone's Impact on Society.