More on Social Interactions of Camera Phones

By the last few posts, one can probably guess that I have been traveling for the last few days. It’s amazing how clean mountain air can help to put your head back together.

This week the Feature posted a few articles on Camera Phone usage. This article on the Social Implications of Camera Phones nicely outlines many of Mimi Ito’s and Daisuke Okabe’s research on Camera Phone Use in Japan. The author speaks of the lack of archival value of the photo and the ephemeral communicative nature instead. He talks about the intimacy of the photo and as selectively capturing spontaneous events. In short, he is summarizing the essence of the camera phone photographers stream of photos as not just photo capture, but instead their reenactment of their perspective of their own life.

He goes on to talk about what I had earlier discussed as “presence peaking or semi-realtime”. In my earlier post, I had asked for a better way to describe this short, intimate, hug of communication. After hearing Mimi Ito’s talk at Berkeley about a month or so ago I had silently decided that “remote touching” was the best description I had heard. From a more social science perspective, the converging term could also be known as “distributed co-presence”, as the Feature article points out. However, I think that “remote touching” captures more of the essence of the end users experience and “distributed co-presence” more of the social scientist’s evaluation of that experience. So from now on, im sticking with the term that I think will help to foster more appropriate design of applications that take this into account…

… “Remote Touching”.

As well, in a different article, the Feature points out that in a less-intimate way advertisers are beginning to catch on to the fact that users carry their phones with them at all times and that this fosters a great way to allow them to integrate the real product into product awareness. This is by far, not the first, nor the last that we will see of this. Nokia and Verizon have already done it and other third party consumer goods parties are beginning to see the light in this sort of consumer-reality interactive advertising. It’s rich. However, one challenge I foresee with these sorts of ideas, is how not to spam. If the advertisers are going to push these types of experiences to users phones and many of them begin to do it, users may become readily frustrated and turned off to the experience all together as their inboxes become filled. Conversely, if the advertisers limit the awareness of the experience to only the desktop website, the leverage to communicate with the user and thus create a completely immersive reality experience is greatly weakened. So how do will we solve that?

And even greater, because we know these devices are used for social personal interactions among intimate communities (as the first article points out)… what happens if we were to take advantage of both of these ideas at that same time?


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