Vodafone's Receiver new issue
The last issue of Vodafone's receiver is another refreshing arrival. Some papers are connected to my phd research (use of mobile devices for coordination in small groups).
the normal life stages which individuals go through are increasingly taking place in a mobile setting that challenges the individual with new activities, customs and lifestyles. An interesting component of this is the increasingly popular activity of backpacking. (...) Examining what technologies could be used to support this highly mobile stage of life may provide insights into how to support their increasingly mobile home life as well.
Some of these tools include email, mobile phones, SMS, instant messaging and blogs. For the past several years a group of colleagues and I have been looking at the existing technology use and communication habits of backpackers in order to inform the design of new tourism technologies.
This seems to be neat:
More recently we have been experimenting with network graphs showing the behavior of travel blogging communities. A database of 8,073 travel blog entries from within Australia was used to explore the blogging habits of 1,149 bloggers. A primary outcome of the analysis is a graph showing which cities were most blogged about and which travel routes (inferred from blog entries) were most commonly taken. This has resulted in a better understanding of which routes are "on the beaten path" and where backpackers can go for solitude. Other graphs show the social networks that backpackers form while traveling. For example one graph shows how people are connected to blogged activities, such as friends met on a trip to the Great Barrier Reef. Another animated graph shows the growth of a backpacker’s social network as she travels and meets new people. These types of visualizations should be able to assist backpackers in recalling who they have met and how they know each other. It may also allow communities to become more aware of their own behavior, and the consequence of it on the cultures they visit.
And location-awareness of others seems to be important:
So what might the future of backpacking look like? (...) With the increasing population density of backpackers, there is a corresponding rise in potential for peer-to-peer short range networking technologies. This allows pairing of backpackers who are in the same place at the same time
Why do I blog this? I know Jeff's research from his blog + some IM discussion and it's quite pertinent. His work is devoted to "the development and design of mobile devices used by groups and how device design might change group behavior". Which is sligthly different from what i do (I am more focused on how specific features such as location-awareness change group behavior in terms of social and cognitive processes).