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Social Order of the Co-Located Mobile Phone: Practices of collaborative mobile phone use
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8194-0955
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis examines mundane practices of everyday phone use to make conceptual, empirical and methodological contributions to ongoing research on mobile technology. It argues that we do not yet have a clear understanding of how the mobile phone is used–who does what, when and why. Yet these details are important if we are to judge the impact of mobile technology, understand the possibilities and dangers it offers, or evaluate claims about its broader impact on our sociality.

The participation of both the phone user and those co-located is examined–to understand how we actively create and maintain a new ‘social order’ with mobile phones. Across five separate studies, a mix of methods is used to look closely at phone use. Drawing extensively on in situ video recording of device use, as well as interviews and ethnographic observations, the empirical chapters cover three different types of device use: search, messaging, and way-finding. The chapters look at the specifics of how the applications manifest themselves in practice (such as message notifications, or the ‘blue dot’ in map apps), as well as the practices adopted to use, manage and balance those applications within ongoing co-located, face-to-face interactions.

Empirically, the studies document how co-located phone use is dependent upon the technology, but is also reliant upon new practices of collaboration and co-operation. I discuss how participation is managed (who is involved), the temporal organisation of action (when use occurs), and the recurrent actions and materiality of those practices (what happens). Moment-by-moment analysis of the practices highlights the importance and value of making phone use publicly accountable to avoid disturbing the ‘local order’, but also for sharing knowledge and making sense of the world together, as well as having fun and maintaining friendships.

The methodological contribution is found in the hybridity of methods adopted to meet the challenge of collecting and analysing data relevant to studying what is happening when we use our phones. A combination of ethnography with video and conversation analysis, and the creative use of probes to support interviews is proposed, to gain access to a broader perspective on phone use. Through reliance upon empirical observation, we can avoid abstract and reductive generalisations about phone use, discussing instead the observable action and resources that do occur recurrently around mobile phone use–how things get done with mobiles.

Conceptually, the thesis draws on ethnomethodology and conversation analysis for a perspective on how we make sense of the day-to-day interactions we have with one another–how we bring about and sustain the ‘local’ social order. I argue that practices of mobile phone use are constituent parts of local order in everyday life, and that their examination is key to understanding what social order is now like. A conceptual ‘diamond’ of mobile phone practice, broken down into elements of time, body, materiality, and repair is proposed. In conclusion, the thesis highlights the prevalence of phone practices beyond individual, task-oriented pursuits and I finish by reflecting on possible future research to enhance the collaborative, social aspects of mobile technology.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University , 2020. , p. 181
Series
Report Series / Department of Computer & Systems Sciences, ISSN 1101-8526 ; 20-002
Keywords [en]
Human-computer interaction, Mobile phones, Ethnography, Video analysis, Collaborative interaction, Field studies
National Category
Human Aspects of ICT
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-178020ISBN: 978-91-7911-020-8 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7911-021-5 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-178020DiVA, id: diva2:1386168
Public defence
2020-02-28, Aula NOD, NOD-huset, Borgarfjordsgatan 12, Kista, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2020-02-05 Created: 2020-01-16 Last updated: 2020-01-31Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. iPhone in vivo: video analysis of mobile device use
Open this publication in new window or tab >>iPhone in vivo: video analysis of mobile device use
2013 (English)In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, New York: ACM Press, 2013, p. 1031-1040Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Despite the widespread use of mobile devices, details of mobile technology use 'in the wild' have proven difficult to collect. This paper uses video data to gain new insight into the use of mobile computing devices. Our new method combines screen-capture of iPhone use with video recordings from wearable cameras. We use this data to analyse how mobile device use is threaded into other co-present activities, focusing on the use of maps and internet searches. Close analysis reveals novel aspects of gestures on touch screens, how they serve 'double duty' - both as interface gestures but as as resources for ongoing joint action. We go on to describe how users 'walk the blue dot' to orientate themselves, and how searches are occasioned by the local environment. In conclusion, we argue that mobile devices - rather than pushing us away from the world around us - are instead just another thread in the complex tapestry of everyday interaction.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York: ACM Press, 2013
Keywords
Video methods, smartphone use, mobility, ethnography
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-95945 (URN)10.1145/2470654.2466132 (DOI)978-1-4503-1899-0 (ISBN)
Conference
CHI 2013, Paris, France, 27 April - 2 May, 2013
Available from: 2013-11-07 Created: 2013-11-07 Last updated: 2020-01-21Bibliographically approved
2. Searchable Objects: Search in Everyday Conversation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Searchable Objects: Search in Everyday Conversation
2015 (English)In: Proceedings of the 18th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing, ACM Press, 2015, p. 508-517Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper examines mobile internet search, presenting search not as a process of information retrieval, but as part of conversation and talk. Through video extracts of mobile search we explore how mobile phones are interwoven into talk, and how searchers manage the participation of other conversationalists alongside the search itself. We introduce the notion of a 'searchable object' -- an object that arises in conversation that can be searched for online -- and document how such an object occasions a search. In turn we discuss the differing roles of the device 'driver' and 'passenger', and how participation is managed through questions and narration. Rather than search being solely about getting correct information, conversations around search may be just as important. We conclude by critiquing some of the pessimistic views of interaction around mobile phones and their use in ordinary life and talk.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
ACM Press, 2015
Keywords
Collaborative search, mobile, phone interaction, video analysis
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-122878 (URN)10.1145/2675133.2675206 (DOI)978-1-4503-2922-4 (ISBN)
Conference
18th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing, Vancouver, BC, Canada, March 14 - 18, 2015
Available from: 2015-11-11 Created: 2015-11-11 Last updated: 2020-01-16Bibliographically approved
3. Disrupting the cab: uber, ridesharing and the taxi industry
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Disrupting the cab: uber, ridesharing and the taxi industry
2015 (English)In: Journal of Peer Production, E-ISSN 2213-5316, no 6Article in journal (Refereed) Published
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-125139 (URN)
Available from: 2016-01-08 Created: 2016-01-08 Last updated: 2020-01-21Bibliographically approved
4. Caring for Batteries: Maintaining Infrastructures and Mobile Social Contexts
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Caring for Batteries: Maintaining Infrastructures and Mobile Social Contexts
2015 (English)In: Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services, Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2015Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper advances the study of batteries in everyday life. We provide a situated understanding of smartphone battery care based on a qualitative user study involving device logging and behavioral tracking to support our inquiry. Our findings depict how caring for batteries fits into everyday routines, the work that is done to prepare and maintain an infrastructure that supports mobile energy needs, and the ways in which batteries are monitored and preserved. Moreover, they illustrate what happens when everyday routines are disrupted and when planning or infrastructure fails, causing flat batteries and the need to apply mechanisms for coping. We build on these insights to propose shifting the research focus from user and device centric approaches towards more contextualized understandings of situated practices. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings for two increasingly important topics within HCI, personal informatics and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2015
Keywords
Battery care, Ethno-mining, Infrastructure, HBI
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-124655 (URN)10.1145/2785830.2785864 (DOI)978-1-4503-3652-9 (ISBN)
Conference
MobileHCI '15, 17th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services, Copenhagen, Denmark, August 24 - 27, 2015
Available from: 2016-01-04 Created: 2016-01-04 Last updated: 2020-01-16Bibliographically approved
5. More to Meetings: Challenges in Using Speech-Based Technology to Support Meetings
Open this publication in new window or tab >>More to Meetings: Challenges in Using Speech-Based Technology to Support Meetings
2017 (English)In: Proceedings of the 2017 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2017, p. 2208-2220Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Personal assistants using a command-dialogue model of speech recognition, such as Siri and Cortana, have become increasingly powerful and popular for individual use. In this paper we explore whether similar techniques could be used to create a speech-based agent system which, in a group meeting setting, would similarly monitor spoken dialogue, pro-actively detect useful actions, and carry out those actions without specific commands being spoken. Using a low-fi technical probe, we investigated how such a system might perform in the collaborative work setting and how users might respond to it. We recorded and transcribed a varied set of nine meetings from which we generated simulated lists of automated ‘action items’, which we then asked the meeting participants to review retrospectively. The low rankings given on these discovered items are suggestive of the difficulty in applying personal assistant technology to the group setting, and we document the issues emerging from the study. Through observations, we explored the nature of meetings and the challenges they present for speech agents.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2017
Keywords
Automatic Speech Recognition, Meeting Agents, Speech Interaction, Collaborative Workplace Technology
National Category
Human Computer Interaction
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-149272 (URN)10.1145/2998181.2998335 (DOI)978-1-4503-4335-0 (ISBN)
Conference
2017 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, Portland, Oregon, USA, February 25 - March 01, 2017
Available from: 2017-11-24 Created: 2017-11-24 Last updated: 2020-01-16Bibliographically approved
6. Text in Talk: Lightweight Messages in Co- Present Interaction
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Text in Talk: Lightweight Messages in Co- Present Interaction
2018 (English)In: ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, ISSN 1073-0516, E-ISSN 1557-7325, Vol. 24, no 6, article id 42Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

While lightweight text messaging applications have been researched extensively, new messaging applications such as iMessage, WhatsApp, and Snapchat offer some new functionality and potential uses. Moreover, the role messaging plays in interaction and talk with those who are co-present has been neglected. In this article, we draw upon a corpus of naturalistic recordings of text message reading and composition to document the face-to-face life of text messages. Messages, both sent and received, share similarities with reported speech in conversation; they can become topical resource for local conversation-supporting verbatim reading aloud or adaptive summaries. Yet with text messages, their verifiability creates a distinctive resource. Similarly, in message composition, what to write may be discussed with collocated others. We conclude with discussion of designs for messaging in both face-to-face, and remote, communication.

Keywords
Mobile devices, text messaging, video analysis
National Category
Computer and Information Sciences
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-154672 (URN)10.1145/3152419 (DOI)000425721100006 ()
Available from: 2018-04-24 Created: 2018-04-24 Last updated: 2020-01-21Bibliographically approved
7. Talking about Chat at Work in the Global South: An Ethnographic Study of Chat Use in India and Kenya
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Talking about Chat at Work in the Global South: An Ethnographic Study of Chat Use in India and Kenya
Show others...
2019 (English)In: CHI '19: Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2019, p. 1-14, article id 233Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In this paper, we examine how two chat apps fit into the communication ecosystem of six large distributed enterprises, in India and Kenya. From the perspective of management, these chat apps promised to foster greater communication and awareness between workers in the field, and between fieldworkers and the enterprises administration and management centres. Each organisation had multiple different types of chat groups, characterised by the types of content and interaction patterns they mediate, and the different organisational functions they fulfil. Examining the interplay between chat and existing local practices for coordination, collaboration and knowledge-sharing, we discuss how chat manifests in the distributed workplace and how it fits – or otherwise – alongside the rhythms of both local and remote work. We contribute to understandings of chat apps for workplace communication and provide insights for shaping their ongoing development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2019
Keywords
ethnography, chat apps, mobile messaging, distributed workforce, collaboration
National Category
Human Computer Interaction
Research subject
Man-Machine-Interaction (MMI)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-177856 (URN)10.1145/3290605.3300463 (DOI)978-1-4503-5970-2 (ISBN)
Conference
CHI 2019, Glasgow, Scotland, UK, May 4-9, 2019
Available from: 2020-01-08 Created: 2020-01-08 Last updated: 2020-01-16Bibliographically approved

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