Refusing, Limiting, and Departing

Most research in human-centered/social computing focuses on when and how people use technology. Examining “non-use” – when and how people do not use technology – is equally important. Unconventional use run through many of my projects where I study why people might choose to leave a system (e.g., my research on leaving Grindr), and how the design of that system may be unable to understand that they’ve gone or why (e.g., especially my work on death).

If we stop presuming that people “use”, we are able to ask about the conditions under which people choose to use a system. We expose a set of relationships to technology within and around which people move. Leaving may be forgetting. Refusing one system might be tied up with the adoption of another. And departure — be they temporary, or final — can be designed for in a way that acknowledge all use as a form of “return.”

publish : //

Brubaker, J. R., Annany, M., and Crawford, K. (2014). Departing Glances: A sociotechnical account of ‘leaving’ Grindr. New Media & Society. [pdf]

also see my work on death on social network sites

workshop : //

Baumer, E. P, Ames, M. G., Brubaker, J. R., Burrell, J., Dourish, P. (2014). Refusing, Limiting, Departing: Why We Should Study Technology Non-use. Workshop at CHI 2014 in Toronto, Canada. [link]

special issue : //

We are in the midst of editing a special issue on “Non-use” for First Monday. The call has already passed, and we look forward to publishing the issue in 2015.