Push To Talk in Brazil

Having spent a little bit of time lately in the Rio de Janeiro area in Brazil, I have been impressed by the quantity of people using Push-To-Talk on their cell phones. A good way to emulate walkie-talkie feature, I've seen mostly used by workers (delivery and taxi people) as well as teenagers. It generally provide users with an open channel of communication. Push to talk

There isn't so many user studies about PTT but the work by Allison Woodruff seems quite relevant for that matter. In Media Affordances of a Mobile Push-To-Talk Communication Service, Woodruff and Aoki report how teenagers use PTT in the US, describing 3 "interaction styles":


  1. Focused conversation is aligned with the phenomenon of sustained turn-taking and is exemplified by the communicative activity we termed substantive conversation.
  2. Bursty conversation, characterized by short turn sequences separated by lapses in talk, is aligned with reduced interactional commitment and is exemplified by chit-chat and micro-coordination (and to a lesser degree, by instances of play and extended remote presence).
  3. Intermittent conversation, characterized by long response delays between individual turns, is aligned with reduced accountability and divided attention and is exemplified by many instances of play and extended remote presence.


In "How push-to-talk makes talk less pushy (a paper presented at the 2003 international ACM SIGGROUP conference on Supporting group work), the researchers showed how PTT lowered interactional commitment ("For example, participants did not feel they needed to reply immediately when someone spoke to them via the cellular radio (contrast this with a telephone conversation, in which people generally feel they must respond promptly when someone speaks to them)").

Why do I blog this? some notes about technology usage while in Brazil. I find very interesting the possibilities and the usage of such open channel. It's also curious to see that in Europe PTT is not that employed by teenagers.