Mobile Media Matters

The Ethnography and Phenomenology of Itinerant Interfaces

Authored by: Ingrid Richardson , Brendan Keogh

The Routledge Companion to Digital Ethnography

Print publication date:  December  2016
Online publication date:  January  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138940918
eBook ISBN: 9781315673974
Adobe ISBN: 9781317377788


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Margaret, a 33-year-old accountant from Brisbane, Australia, is one of our participants in a three-year study of mobile media and play in the domestic context. When asked what games she regularly plays on her mobile phone, she answered, “Mostly free games. Little puzzle games as well.” As she said the words “little puzzle games” she held her right hand in the air, index finger stretched out, and waved horizontal and vertical lines in the air. “Oh,” we replied, “You mean those match-3 games like Bejeweled and Candy Crush Saga?” Margaret nodded, “Yes, exactly.” In other interviews, we observed the same gesticulation. Multiple times, interviewees did not recall the names of the mobile games they had played, but were able to mimic the haptic and gestural movements required of them. These anecdotes point toward both the way mobile games and media interfaces are integral to our embodied ways of knowing, and the challenges posed to the mobile media researcher who wishes to capture, understand, and interpret this contemporary cultural and everyday practice.

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