Document Type

Journal Article


The School of English, Media Studies, & Art History, The University of Queensland


Faculty of Education and Arts


School of Communications and Arts / Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts, Technology, Education and Communications




This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of: Noble, J. R., & Green, L. R. (2009). Synchronous asynchronicity: the use of mobiles to pattern face-to-face encounters in chaotic environments. Australian Journal of Communication, 36(1), 1-10. Available here.


Although mobile media are commonly associated with distant communications, young adults also use Short Message Service (SMS) texting for inter-group exchanges in co-located circumstances. Such co-located mobile phone use is particularly evident where usual communication cues are compromised by a chaotic environment. Chaos can ensue when cues of voice and vision are impaired, with secondary impacts upon clear thought and fixed points of reference. A dark, noisy club environment would provide one example of this dynamic at work. Chaotic surroundings can encourage a pleasing suspension of individual control, while exposing participants to a range of social and emotional risks. Text communication offers the security of connecting with co-located companions in such circumstances. Mobile phone use mediates the chaos and introduces the possibility of synchronous activity. Accepting the argument that texting is a form of asynchronous communication, this paper suggests its commonplace co-located use to synchronise activity in chaotic situations.

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