thumb culture
(THUM kul.chur; th as in thin) n. People who are skilled at using their thumbs to manipulate objects such as cell phone keys, small joysticks, and notebook computer pointers.

Example Citation:
Indeed, Japan is the model for a wireless-entertainment culture. NTT DoCoMo, that country's largest wireless company, has surprised and transformed the nation with a service called "I-mode," which allows subscribers to access games and other online entertainment wirelessly. The i-mode service requires a special cell phone with a slightly larger than ordinary screen (typically three by four centimeters). . . . I-mode is phenomenally popular, engendering a "thumb culture" of 30 million subscribers — an estimated 80 percent of people worldwide who currently use wireless devices to connect to the Net.
—David Kushner, "The wireless arcade," Technology Review, July 1, 2002

Earliest Citation:
Young Japanese have become so adept at their phones — manipulating a set of cursor keys or a button-sized joystick by thumb — that some people refer to a new 'thumb culture'.
—Colin Joyce, "Japanese give thumbs-up to silent mobiles," The Daily Telegraph, August 7, 2000

Notes:
Another name for the thumb-proficient is the thumb generation. In Japan, they're called oyayubizoku, which means "clan of the thumbs" or "thumb tribe."

Related Words:

Categories: