Monday, March 10, 2008

FIS Research Day 2008

on friday 14th, the Faculty of Information Studies at the University of Toronto (my faculty) hosts research day where faculty and students showcase current research efforts. i will present a preview of a paper that i am working on titled "On my own: using mobile phones to bridge loneliness". The following is the abstract for the paper.

This paper reports on findings from a November 2007 survey of mobile phone use in the personal social networks of 17-33 year olds in Toronto, Canada. Findings are articulated within a social affordances lens for this new media, where in this case, social affordances refer to the properties of mobile phones that foster sociality, particularly within transitional environments. The paper considers the role that ritualistic practices associated with the mobile phone play in how 1st year university students manage feelings of loneliness. In particular, using concepts drawn from Activity Theory I analyze the way mobile phones are used to bridge social gaps in 1st year undergraduate personal networks that are exaggerated when students geographically move further away from well-established social and emotional supports provided by kin and high-school friends to attend university. The paper concludes by proposing a framework that can be used to understand the implications of using new media, such as the mobile phone, in bridging gaps for relationships founded in face-to-face interaction.

Keywords: mobile phone, cell phone, social affordances, social networks, transitions, loneliness, rituals.

Monday, March 3, 2008

travel and talk

i attended the 3rd annual iSchools conference held in Los Angeles (and hosted by UCLA) yesterday. apart from the obvious benefit of escaping the coldest days in Toronto for the balmy breezes of Venice beach, there was real benefit in attending this years' conference. the "hot" topics - for me - were (1) mobile phones and intimate relationships - this was a roundtable facilitated by some solid researchers at UC Berkeley and could not have been a better session for my dissertation research; (2) Science and Technology Studies - a panel of some top researchers in this analytical approach; and (3) Communities and Technologies - a "wild card" session which attracted a large group of interdisciplinary researchers who ended up brainstorming the very definition of "community". all-in-all a good meeting, great topics and new extensions in my academic and friendship networks... thanks Ramesh!

tomorrow, March 4th, i present to the Canadian Marketing Association in a roundtable called: "How does social media fit into your marketing strategy?" See|K=228020. among other things i offer research findings on the demographics that use social media and how privacy/ethics can be considered by marketers.

ciao for now.

L8R, R
(ne1 can undRst if th will is thR, IMO. nuf Z)