• Sarah

Phase 1- Theme: Constant Interaction

Updated: May 5, 2019


Exploring the topic

Case Study: Social media (Folder)


As someone who doesn’t contribute (often) to social media content, it intrigues me how people perceive high engagement of social media and digital technology as simply "attention seeking”. Our use of social media is example of our increasing need for stimulated communication. With Instagram celebrities, friends and family doing all sorts of posed activity online, we don't question why they are opting to use these platforms. However the reason relates to use and gratification theory, where the user links gratification to social media platform choice. The more-image driven opt for Pinterest and Instagram, feeling success or failure from immediate goals, as opposed to specifically being 'attention seeking'. Despite this users continue to use the platforms even when they don't feel satisfied by the goals. The users feel they "are compelled to visit their social media site and could potentially feel that they will not meet their needs if they dont utilise the platform". The theory itself gives a different approach to social media addiction however, as users have the ability to customise their platform of choice to meet their own needs.


Media and dependency theory goes beyond this illustrating 3 user needs for satisfied media usage. These are: the ability to understand their social environment (surveillance), efficiency and significancy within their social world and a means of escape when overwhelmed. This with use and gratification theory demonstrates that when users needs are met, they continue the behaviour and addiction develops.


This addiction is demonstrated in a research study where students were required to

stow all of their belongings, including their smartphones, and spend between 6 and 15 minutes alone in a room with nothing to do but think, when repeated, with stimulation such as reading a book, listening to music or searching the internet, they enjoyed this experience far more than simply thinking. More worryingly they would rather experience pain (via mild electric shock) then have their thoughts to themselves again, it shows overstimulation at its worst.



Case Study: Information (Folder)


With the increase in use of the internet over the past 3 decades, we have formed a new path of learning- connectivism. We are "focused on connecting specialised information sets, and its through the connections that enables us to learn more, are more important than our current state of knowing". It puts importance in the new information that is around and "the ability to draw distinctions between the important and unimportant information is vital". Theres a need for connectivism that can be shown through our addiction to the internet, with the user obsessively searching for and collecting new information in order to create relevant connections and networks.


Although through this increase in information, the information "consumes the attention of it's participants". "A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it" (Information Society). The increasing expectation of speed of information that has developed over these years and . It 'results in less available memory later on, of the item learned' demonstrating that speed and availability of information interferes with our learning and cognition, making us dependent on the information that we cannot recall. This affects our attention span and can be seen in research that tells us that our increased multi-tasking has decreased our attention span from 12 seconds to 8 (Time magazine) . (-god help you reading this blog then!)


Case study: The Smart Home (Folder)


Another example of our constant need for interaction is through the internet of things such as the smart home. Amazon Echo, and other brands, have created a host of connected products that function further when used together as well as creating a unified process. This creates a good user experience as the smart objects can be controlled all in the same way by voice, which once learnt can be easily repeated for all new accessories. It uses AI to add to our already expanding networks of information. It gets us to constantly engage in its product cycle, locking us in. It shows a dangerous side to our increasing use of connected technology.


The hyper- connected smart home

Visual references (Sketchbook 1 pp.54-57)


I found some really great visuals for constant interaction. The use of lines to demonstrate connection and networks was used in different ways amongst them. It highlighted a networked effect, networking and constant interaction was a key part of connectivism, this could be interesting to explore further visually and academically. I found it hard to find genuine references of people on their phones, they were all very stock photoy-esque, maybe original photos could have shown this better? I'm particularly fond of the illustration pages looking at the hyper-use of the mobile phone. They're all quite comical, particularly Jean Jullien. He's made more work within this theme that I will explore.

Visual research

Visual research

Illustrator: Jean Jullien (Folder)


High profile illustrator Jullien's work has become increasingly observant of societies technology use. The use of satire and contrasting colours make light of moments with technology that are highly critisised day in, day out. He released the book 'Modern Life' in 2017 helping to make sense of todays world. His work demonstrating lack of physical interaction whilst consumed by phones is comical and relatable. The aptly named 'Before Instagram' makes light of social media genres and subcultures. Making fun of the topic appears to be the one of very few ways to start engagement in this topic, this could be useful to use in a game idea.

Jean Jullien | Modern Life

This has identified my interests and a created a presentation structure for me:

  • Constant communication

  • Use and Gratification theory

  • Access to information (It's speed and availability)

  • Connectivism theory

  • The smart home