Village Phone: A Summary


This excerpt surrounds the story of a woman named Ivanna who lost her phone in a New York City cab, a not-uncommon occurrence. However, issues arose when she bought a new phone and transferred her information only to find that her lost phone was in the possession of a teenage girl. In an attempt to reclaim her phone, Ivanna went to her friend Evan who was able to uncover the girl’s email address. It was discovered that the teenage girl, Sasha, had received the phone after her brother found it in a cab, however, many contradicting stories of how she obtained the phone would follow. After harsh words and threats, Sasha refused to return the phone. With this Evan took to the internet and things escalated. By starting a page on his website detailing the events of the stolen phone and their attempts to get it back, Evan began to gain considerable attention. Soon enough millions were reading the numerous updates Evan posted and chiming in with their thoughts, opinions, and suggestions. After the police dismissed the phone as being lost rather than stolen, followers of the incident were outraged. After much back and forth between Ivanna and Evan and Sasha as well as her family, threats, and allegations were flying all around. Finally, the police arrested Sasha and returned the phone to Ivanna after much public pressure from the online audience Evan had gathered. Just happy to have her possession back, Ivanna did not press charges against Sasha.

In this story of the stolen phone, Evan takes charge, urged on by emotion rather than finances as he grew attached to the idea of righting a wrong. However, Evan was not able to do this for Ivanna all on his own. In reality, the technology he had available and the audience that he generated through posting about the phone was what created the leverage needed to bring it home.

On the other hand, while unethical, Sasha was set on keeping the phone as it was apparent that Evan could afford to buy Ivanna a new one if he really wanted to; therefore, she could use it more than Ivanna could. Additionally, Sasha found that her ploy to keep Evan away was successful, as he seemingly had no army backing him as she did with her family and friends. It was discovered though, that as the story grew, so did Evan’s army, albeit an online army. Evan received numerous offers of help from journalists, investigators, lawyers, and so on through his website, allowing him to keep pursuing what he saw as justice. In the end that is what he got.

This story is unique as thousands of phones get lost in New York City alone, but this one just so happened to result in a break-out story. It is all a bit serendipitous if you will as there is highly unlikely another time when this same event could have played out as it did due to timing, technology, and the individuals involved. Additionally, aspects of this story showed how technology can play into perpetuating racism and sexism as well as upholding the well-off and ignoring the poor, which should be recognized. It just so happened that Evan had the right mix of motivation and resources to create an online storm. This is becoming easier for individuals through the expansion of technology.

The story of Ivanna’s lost phone and Evan’s inspired actions is a great example of what can be done with the new technologies that are constantly becoming available. The boundaries of what can be done are ever expanding with these resources as it is becoming easier to band together whether you know those in the cause you are joining or they’re a stranger in an online forum. Group action is hugely important to humanity; therefore, any change is a big change in terms of what groups can achieve.

Short Interview- Jenkins
Participatory Culture- Jenkins

The media is ours to do with it what we please and as these videos describe, we do just that. Controlling the media is an important part of our culture and how we are able to control it is important to us as individuals. It is made apparent that individuals thrive off of sharing their ideas with others, we naturally want that interaction for one reason or another. Not only that, but when individuals come together as a group, they are able to control and change media on a whole new scale. Relating back to the community of people invested in Evan’s story in “Village Phone,” we build communities throughout our use of media. Another thing that we do is seemingly subconsciously decide how we are going to spend our time within this media. We really have so much control, yet the scope of what we do is so narrow. I contribute this idea of a narrow scope to the trends of the times and wanting to follow that pack mentality of doing things.