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Civic Life in the "Mobilized" US

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Presented by Scott Campbell at Design for Mobile 2009, in Lawrence, KS

For more information see http://patterns.design4mobile.com/index.php/Civic_Life_in_%27Mobilized%27_Society:_Considerations_for_Theory%2C_Research%2C_and_Design

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Civic Life in the "Mobilized" US

  1. 1. Civic Life in the “Mobilized” US Scott Campbell Assistant Professor Pohs Fellow of Telecommunications University of Michigan Department of Communication Studies
  2. 2. McLuhan The medium is the …  message  massage  mass age
  3. 3. From “Mass Age” to “Personal Communication Society” “Predominant” new medium of an era • 1930s/40s – radio (mass age) • 1950/60s – TV (mass age) • 1990s – PC/Internet (network society) • Today – mobile (personalization)
  4. 4. Personalization of mobile media  Extension of self  Personalized content  Personalization of public space  Strengthens personal ties
  5. 5. But does personalization foster social privatism?  Telecocooning  Virtual walled communities  Monadic clusters Detachment Small, Mobile likeminded communication Dialogic enclaves disruption
  6. 6. Social capital: Old and new media  Putnam – privatization of leisure time (TV)  Early Internet studies • Isolation, alienation, less FtF social engagement • Community building, informal socializing (social capital)  Depends on the context of use • Information exchange • Sociability • Recreation
  7. 7. Survey of adults in US  Criterion variables • Civic engagement (community, social cause, neighborhood) • Political participation (attending events, petitioning, contacting political official)  Predictor variables • Mobile phone use (factor analysis): sociability, information, recreation  Moderating variable (interaction terms): comfort with mobile telephony  Control variables: age, gender, education, income, political interest
  8. 8. Findings  Use for information exchange fosters civic & political engagement  Sociability not significant  Recreational use also positively linked
  9. 9. Effect of competence
  10. 10. Effect of competence
  11. 11. Follow-up study: Monadic clusters? Detachment Small, Mobile likeminded communication Dialogic enclaves disruption
  12. 12. Measures  Criterion variables – Political participation (attending events, petitioning, contacting political official) – Political openness (interest in listening to alternative viewpoints, enjoy talking politics with others who may not disagree, enjoy talking politics with others don’t know)  Predictor variables – Mobile phone use: social & informational (informational will be focus here)  Moderating variables: social network size & homogeneity  Control variables: age, gender, education, income, political interest
  13. 13. Findings  Monadic clusters  Size matters: larger networks better for political life  Network diversity • Bad for involvement • Interpersonal level - conflict avoidance • Intrapersonal level - ambivalence • But good attitudinally  Bottom line: social context!
  14. 14. Findings
  15. 15. Considerations for design  “Content is not king”  Increasing role & importance of information exchange  Comfort with the technology significantly affects social capital

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