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  1. 1. Chronicling Portable Practices Mimi Ito Keio University
  2. 2. Presentation Overview  Introduction of methodological problematics  Methods of self-documentation – Mobile phone diary (paper) – Mobile kit diaries (paper, voice, moblog database) – Longitudinal study/training of users
  3. 3. Methodological commitments  Adapting anthropology to behavior highly distributed and fragmented across time and place – Context as hybrid of “real” (physically local) and “virtual” (online and remote)  Commitments to ethnographic focus on everyday action and local knowledge – Close “direct” observations of people’s activity in diverse locations rather than reported usage – Interpreting qualitative details of user experience by analyzing subjective reports (interviews) in relation to observational data
  4. 4. Research objects and methods  Social networks and groups – How do portable devices mediate different kinds of social relationships? – Surveys of relational data, content analyses of communication  Locations and institutions – How do portable ICTs change the characteristics of public space, the home, service areas, etc.? – Observations in specific social situations/locations  Person/device experience – How do portable devices mediate people’s experiences as they move through time and space? – Shadowing and diary-based methods of self-documentation
  5. 5. Take 1: keitai diary study  24 users (12 high school and 12 college students) in Tokyo  3 phases – Pre-interview and methodological briefing – Diary keeping – Post interview
  6. 6. Take 1: keitai diaries No. 時間 [when] 相手 [who] 場所 [where] [communicati on type] 選択 理由 [reason for choice] 周りに いた人 [people in vicinity] 問題が あったか [problems?] 内容 [content] 1 10:29 友人 S 家 KV 彼氏 半分寝てた 飲み会キャンセル 2 12:19 母 家 KV 彼氏 3 15:13 友人 K 家 KM 彼氏 電話番号教えて 4 15:39 友人 K 家 KM 彼氏 すぐに返信できな かった 090-××× だよ 5 17:53 友人 M バス停 KM 通行人 飲み会確認 6 18:09 友人 M 電車 KM 安いし,電 車の中だか ら 20 人位 電車が混んでいた これからゼミ飲み 会 7 18:14 友人 M 電車 KM 〃 20 人位 〃 8 18:20 友人 M ホーム KV 5 人位
  7. 7. Take 1: reflections  Rich data on how keitai fits into individual’s life at an everyday level  Some data on relational content and locational experiences  Focus limited to single device
  8. 8. Take 2: mobile kit study  Not just the Keitai, but the whole range of portable objects in a “mobile kit” – People use mobile kits to interface with people and environments. – Includes devices such as music players, credit cards, transit cards, keys, and ID cards in addition to mobile phones – Goal is to understand how portable devices construct and support an individual’s identity and activities, mediating relationships with people, places, and institutions.
  9. 9. Take 2: mobile kit study  3 major world cities: London, Los Angeles, and Tokyo  28 participants: Young professionals, 22-32, most unmarried, even M/F split  4 phases: – Initial interview & tour of “mobile kit” – Diary keeping (paper notes, voice memos, GPS moblogging) – Shadowing for half a day – Final interview & reflection on diary
  10. 10. Take 2: mobile kit inventory  Surprising similarities  Calendar, wallet, keys, phone, reading/music  Wallet for exchangeables, credentials, residues
  11. 11. London Diaries
  12. 12. Shadowing
  13. 13. Take 2: Reflections  Netted rich data on how object mediate everyday transactions, encounters, and displays in in- between places  Self-documenting on the fly requires very lightweight form of capture – London/LA almost always reflection  Different phases of study shed light on different dimensions of research question – Feelings, actions, objects, contexts, others  Training/briefing of participants more focused – Collaborators more than “subjects”
  14. 14. Take 3: Pedestrian computing  Current study: an evolution of mobile kit study  18 participants in Tokyo over 3 years - a longitudinal study – Targeting heavy mobile user in life transitions: college seniors, entrepreneurs, families with teenagers  5 layers repeated 4 times at 6 month intervals – Pre-interview and mobile kit inventory – Self documentation with keitai diary – Self documentation with GPS moblog – Half-day shadowing – Post interview reflecting on diary and moblog
  15. 15. Take 3: Reflections  Developing relationships with people over time – Research collaborators rather than research subjects – Following life changes and changes in technology profiles  Following technology and infrastructure changes over periods of rapid change – Growing pervasiveness of portable media devices – New digital cash and transit infrastructures
  16. 16. Ten old transportation prepaid cards with only a few yen remaining
  17. 17. Copyright (c) 2004 Impress Corporation
  18. 18. Conclusions  Mobile technologies can be useful tools in studying low profile behaviors – But we need better automation, seamless and quick input and upload mechanisms  Layering of different practice-based methods – Observation, interviews, self-documentation, inventories  Participatory research - our participants are our research assistants – Self-documentation as a native practice in many settings. We can leverage this.

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