Managing visibility in ubiquitous multimedia communication environments

L A Watts, E Dubois

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Users of Ubiquitous Multimedia Communications Environments (UMCE), such as media spaces, have to manage a trade-off between gaining some awareness of colleagues' ongoing activities and the risk posed to their own personal privacy by being on permanent display. UMCEs involve pervasive, continuous and heterogeneous connections between people and spaces. In order to learn more about the mechanisms underlying this trade-off, we studied a UMCE in the form of a minimal media space over a period of three months. We interpreted our results with reference to social identity theory, which casts self-identity as a set of affiliations and externally visible association with them. UMCE users themselves would define, configure and occupy places, or locales, within their spaces as a way of achieving a reliable and low-cognitive-effort management of their self- presentation. It may be that effective interpersonal and inter-group connections of this kind require attention to intra-space heterogeneity as well as heterogeneity in inter-space and technological terms. In this way, it would be possible to avoid the attentional demands of adjusting visibility through manipulations of sensor position or continually fiddling with filters. Instead, one may capitalise on a familiar regime of managing self-presentation by creating and then moving into and out of intra- space locales, each associated with a particular set of identities and audiences.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2001
EventProceedings of IHM-HCI 2001 - Lille, France
Duration: 1 Sept 2001 → …


ConferenceProceedings of IHM-HCI 2001
Period1/09/01 → …


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