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Negotiating Use: Making Sense of Mobile Technology

Journal article
Authors Alexandra Weilenmann
Published in Journal of Personal and Ubiquitous Computing
Volume 5
Issue 2
Pages 137-145
Publication year 2001
Published at Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Pages 137-145
Language en
Keywords mobile technology, mobile CSCW, awareness, field study, user study
Subject categories Communication Studies, Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified, Technology and social change


This paper reports from a study of the ways in which a group negotiated the use of a new, mobile technology. The group was formed of ski instructors who during a one-week ski trip were equipped with a mobile awareness device called the Hummingbird. The group was studied using ethnomethodologically inspired qualitative methods, with the focus on the group members’ different views of the Hummingbird’s intended use. Negotiations of use occurred using two methods: talk and action. The users negotiated issues such as where and when to use the technology, and whether to consider the Hummingbird a work tool or a gadget for social events. Further, the empirical results clearly show how negotiations of new, mobile technology differ from stationary technology.

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