Liquid Communication in Mobile Devices: Affordances and Risks

Liquid Communication in Mobile Devices: Affordances and Risks

Ana Serrano Tellería (Beira Interior University, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9899-4.ch011
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Abstract

Mobile communication and devices have raised a series of challenges concerning the delimitation of public and private, intimate and personal spheres. Specifically, and because of its close connection to the nervous system and emotions, these devices allow a wide variety of affordances while, and in accordance to the broad scope of previous dimensions, a series of worrying risks – because of the same relationship and interdependence between users' rational and sensorial sides. Thus, an international state of the art review will be discussed and the results and conclusions of the ‘Public and Private in Mobile Communications' European FEDER will be offered. A range of quantitative and qualitative methodologies were applied: surveys about general use and habits, personal data and images; focus groups; interviews in person and by telephone; content analysis with a special focus on social media and an observation ethnography and digital ethnography.
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Background

Mobile devices and their media environment have produced a series of fluid parameters to configure online virtual communication, mainly altering space and time dimensions. In this sense, the research fields involved have indicated a variety of concepts that underline a main area of tension to deal with: the state of perpetual contact (Katz & Aakhus, 2002) and the liquid environment (Serrano Tellería & Oliveira, 2015).

From the creation of the profile and the digital identity to the emergence and maintenance of different kinds of networks off/online consciously and unconsciously, academics have delved into aspects and/or dimensions of identity, big data, social media, digital literacy and interface design that reflect core problematics about how we deal with and understand this ecosystem.

These types of technologies were previously described as “extensions of the nervous system” by Vilém Flusser (1988) when he defined them as a revolution. Paraphrasing him (1990), the human being is seen here as a media user not just as someone who ‘works’ with information (Homo Faber), but one who ‘plays’ with information (Homo Ludens).

Media is everywhere and we live immersed “in” it (Deuze, 2012). Thus, it can be seen how interface design works to dilute the boundaries between human and machines (HCI), incorporating these mobile devices into our daily life by fulfilling our motivations and, at the same time, generating interactions to produce them (Serrano Tellería, 2015c).

Wonder, Love, Hate, Desire, Joy, and Sadness: The six primary passions of the soul described by Descartes (1649) are increasingly incorporated into mobile interface design and the construction of messages, altering the way our brain, and specifically our memory, deals with general content and personal data (Serrano Tellería, 2015c).

The connection between emotions and health has already been proved, with our brain as the technology that links them (MIT). Also, the relationship between memories and place has also been recently demonstrated – the process of episodic memory formation (Meyer, 2014). Furthermore, we have wearable technologies and media life, offering constant motivations for our desires and feelings. Therefore, as much as they may fulfill them, we can incorporate them too into our routine. Thus, emotion and motivation seem to be key elements and technologies must work like our brain to establish the proper connection between users and interfaces (Serrano Tellería, 2015c).

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