On March 11, I will defend my PhD thesis ‘Mobility is the Message: Experiments with Mobile Media Sharing’! The official announcement is here, and you can already find the thesis here.
The thesis is comprised of 6 papers and 100 pages of new material that brings the 6 papers together. Find the abstract for the thesis below.
This thesis explores new mobile media sharing applications by building, deploying, and studying their use. While we share media in many different ways both on the web and on mobile phones, there are few ways of sharing media with people physically near us. Studied were three designed and built systems: Push!Music,Columbus, and Portrait Catalog, as well as a fourth commercially available system – Foursquare. This thesis offers four contributions: First, it explores the design space of co-present media sharing of four test systems. Second, through user studies of these systems it reports on how these come to be used. Third, it explores new ways of conducting trials as the technical mobile landscape has changed. Last, we look at how the technical solutions demonstrate different lines of thinking from how similar solutions might look today.
Through a Human-Computer Interaction methodology of design, build, and study, we look at systems through the eyes of embodied interaction and examine how the systems come to be in use. Using Goffman’s understanding of social order, we see how these mobile media sharing systems allow people to actively present themselves through these media. In turn, using McLuhan’s way of understanding media, we reflect on how these new systems enable a new type of medium distinct from the web centric media, and how this relates directly to mobility.
While media sharing is something that takes place everywhere in western society, it is still tied to the way media is shared through computers. Although often mobile, they do not consider the mobile settings. The systems in this thesis treat mobility as an opportunity for design. It is still left to see how this mobile media sharing will come to present itself in people’s everyday life, and when it does, how we will come to understand it and how it will transform society as a medium distinct from those before. This thesis gives a glimpse of what this future may look like.