When people ask me what I do as a UX researcher my answer is usually along the lines of “I watch people struggle with technology without judging them.” And I’ve watched hundreds of people struggle with technology.
Not just due to my long-standing research interest in technology non-use, but as the ever-critical luddite in regards to “social media” adoption, I always enjoy reading so-called “silo-quit” stories.
I was moved to retire from engaging with my social drug of choice, Twitter. After tens of thousands of tweets across more than a decade, I vowed to stop responding to – let alone arguing with – strangers in that particular thunderdome of despair.
This article – on a blog with the fascinating title of “the unruly darlings of public sociology” – refers to a recent study that highlights how inequality can hide under a layer of apparent similarity:
In a survey of college students at a large, midwestern university, we find near-universal ownership of cell phones and laptops. That said, we also find big gaps in the quality and reliability of the technology students own.
This paper tickles my brain not just in the privacy domain, but neatly ties it into my interest in technology non-use.
The researchers test the so-called shadow profile hypothesis: “the data shared by the users of an online service predicts personal information of non-users of the […]
Two fresh data sets from Pew Research Center, highlighting realities I would love to see considered more often in design teams and boardrooms alike:
“Not everyone in advanced economies is using social media”, and
“Smartphones are common in advanced economies, but digital […]
Recent writings about the consequences of the AWS outage on centralised services make me believe that an “Offline First” mindset can help improve the worth and use experience of digital artefacts. (Screenshots from the Mashable article quoted below and offlinefirst.org)
Recent research on digital media use points to two important gaps in educational opportunity for low-income families with young children. First, there is an access gap. Second, there is what scholars refer to as a participation gap, in which digital resources are not well guided or supported to ensure educational progress.
This research report by Victoria Rideout and Vikki Katz (PDF) contains some interesting, mostly quantitative, findings not just about the challenges, but also about real-life practices of digital device use in lower-income families in the USA. […]
The short film “Follow Me on Dead Media - Analog Authenticities in Alternative Skateboarding Scene” by Joonas Rokka, Pekka Rousi and Vessi Hämäläinen presents their research on an alternative skateboarding scene in Helsinki.
It is a so-called videography - academic […]
As sociologists, we frequently use inequality as a lens to examine various dimensions of social life. A blog post by Jenny L. Davis illustrates how the non-use of technology (in this particular instance, due to lack of access) may not only be a manifestation of the so called “digital […]
The impact of social technology’s non-use on its users is sometimes abstract to explain. But every now and then, the issue surfaces in very accessible manner as in an editorial piece by Radhika Sanghani on the Telegraph.
While active social media users, through constant sharing of detailed […]
Back in November, Nathan Jurgenson, the scholar who earlier coined the term “digital dualism” to describe (and challenge) the belief that online and offline lives are separate entities, wrote an article on The New Inquiry titled “The disconnectionists”.
The essay examines […]
Whisper is a SNS where people share secrets, entirely anonymously.
The rise in popularity of these curated apps that do more to shelter their users from judgement and the marring of their “real” personas has been brewing for some time. However, now it is truly emerging as a new […]
A patent document was published by the US Patent and Trademark Office on November 19, describing a system developed at Google that analyses a user’s accounts on social network sites in order to provide half-automated reactions to relevant activity within these. From the patent […]
A few days ago, I noticed an interesting item on my LinkedIn feed that serves to illustrate one of the instances how non-use may manifest itself in social web services. A message featured in the news feed encouraged me (and likely a large number of others) to congratulate a former colleague for her […]
“Leave your phone behind”, a recent writing by a NYC startup CEO on LinkedIn gained quite a bit of traffic and comments when Rafat Ali suggested to create short periods of disconnection from the omnipresent network and its distracting forces.
Both in the article and the 100+ comments by […]
A paper titled “Limiting, Leaving, and (re)Lapsing: an Exploration of Facebook Non-Use Practices and Experiences” by Eric P.S. Baumer et al., presented in May at CHI 2013 (slides), sheds some light on the practices of Facebook non-use and people’s experiences with them.
While the […]
About 10 years ago, technology researchers started to discuss voluntary non-use in contrast to the prevailing assumption that non-use is an involuntary state.
In their 2002 book chapter “They came, they surfed, they went back to the beach: Conceptualizing use and non-use of the […]
Earlier this year, some media outlets pinpointed that the Facebook user statistics published by social media analytics platform Socialbakers would indicate a decrease in the absolute number of “Monthly active Facebook users” over the last six months in the US, Indonesia and the UK. Even […]
Looking at the trace of “non-users” in the history of technology research, the work of James E. Katz and Ronald E. Rice is not to be missed. In their 2002 book “Social consequences of Internet use: access, involvement, and interaction” , they describe a research project […]
I do not think the physical is inherently more real than the digital. I do, however, think that the affordances of digital technologies enable abundant production, and in doing so can water-down the meaning of an object and/or interaction.
The IxDA Helsinki October meeting was an evening filled with discussions about the current state of interaction design, the industry and new ideas. Paavo Westerberg rocked the house with an insightful and lively presentation about 15 Golden Rules for creative processes and event host Idean shared […]
Ever since I first read the publication on the 2010 study of communication technology use by Finland’s official statistics service (Tilastokeskus), I thought it would be great to visualise some of the data contained. In particular, I wanted to dissect the “official” […]