References to books, projects and academic papers that inspire us


Understanding convergence (Stefana Broadbent)

Stefana Broadbent was the head of the User Observatory at Swisscom. She has done many interesting studies on how people use mobile communication devices. ‘Understanding Convergence’ is a paper in ACM database about some of this work. She has also presented at conferences such as LIFT06, Picnic07 and TedGlobal09 (no formal papers, but more informal documentation, see links below).

How are the choices as to what communication technologies people use influenced by motivations and the situations they are in?

Main thesis:
People are are extremely sophisticated in their communication choices, and usually choose the best channel for each situation. (Fixed phone – collective channel; Mobile voice – micro coordination channel; SMS – intimate channel; Email – administrative channel; IM/VOIP) – continuous channel with a few people; Blogging – networking channel).
New forms arising are not substitutional. There is a constant evolution. Each new channel that appears slowly redefines the uses of older media.
A pattern of communication emerges slowly, stabilises for a period and then changes again when new communication channels are introduced.

Relatively small, ethnographic study but validated by others. (100 people kept a diary for 4-5 days, 3,000 interactions.)
Communication diaries – annotate every exchange they have, e.g. voice call, email (who, where, content).
Map position of technology in home.
Record timelines and schedules (TV, PC, Judo, etc).

Theoretical framework:
(Not many references to theories in the texts I read do far. Mainly about observations, analysis and implications for strategie and practice. The ACM publication does have a list of references to seminal literature. Maybe check these.)


Academic paper, and  presentations at conferences.

ACM paper –
Blog post –
Blog post on presentation at TedGlobal-
Blog post on presentation at Lift06 –

Seems very relevant for B&B project. Both because of methodology and description of ‘styles’ emerging and fading.

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