• L'intimite au Travail

    Fyp Editions...

  • Why private communication from the office upsets colleagues

    Private mobile phones are increasingly being discussed in workplaces as a threat to security to health and safety, and a major productivity issue.  While recognised as an important element of workers' right to being accessible in case of emergencies, the phones are seen as major sources of disruption and misbehaviour. Regulation of use of communication devices for private use is mostly done at a company level, there does not seem to b...

  • Transforming the home

    Last year at TED global I discussed of the effect that written digital communication is having on the workplace. I showed how the extensive amount of private exchanges by SMS, email, IM and more recently social networking, is allowing people to stay in touch with loved ones throughout the day. This is happening in settings where personal exchanges had been banned for the last 150 years. This irruption of intimate communication is challenging a deeply rooted belief about the ethics of work : i.e. that people shoul...

  • The democratisation of intimacy

    29.07.2009 Workplace, school, battlefield, foreign country, were until recently all settings in which people were removed for short or long periods of time from their closest ties, family or friends.   Clocking in, meant leaving behind the family and its concerns, emigrating meant saying goodbye maybe for years to children or parents, going on a mission meant limiting contacts to a few letters...  We have thousand of pages of heartwrenching...

  • Managing Separation Anxiety through communication

    16.10.2009 The strengthening and tightening of connection with very close contacts seems to have a very significant emotional value. There are a number of different disciplines that can be called upon to help us understand this social phenomenon. Social  scientists are using concepts from  sociological, economic, and ethnographic perspectives to understand the social mechanisms that are being brought about by the new media.  A few researc...

  • Introduction : subverting the relationship between individuals and institutions

    In the last 10 years one billion people have gleefully adopted the possibility to stay in continuous contact with the people they love. Their days are now dotted with small interactions with family, partners and friends. Research has repeatedly shown that up to 80% of the exchanges of any one person, regardless of the channel (mobile phone, social networking, instant messaging..) are with only 5 people. Obviously, the five closest ties.  P...

  • Wasting time

    The Economist 29th October 2009, reported a study by Morse claiming that in the UK  40 minutes per week are lost by employees on Twitter, Facebook and other social media at that this is costing UK businesses 1.38bilion in lost productivity. Morse has put some figures to the argument that I have been reading in at least 50% of the comments to my TED talk. Many comments disagreed with my view that the newfound possibility of maintaining contact with loved ones from work is a p...

  • Keeping close to the core

     A good proportion of adults in Europe, are using at least 4 channels of communication a day, fix and mobile phone, SMS, and email.  With all these channels, devices, services, a user contacts on average the same 5 to 10 people 80% of the time. The concentration of exchanges on very few partners is rarely reported by the media and often  users themselves are not aware of it. The general view is that ICT has hugely increased the number of contacts, that internet based communication in part...

  • The origin of the work/home divide

    For the last 150 years we can  say that the relationship between work and home has been essentially  oppositional : while a few professions allowed a partial integration of the two, most workers had to keep them well separated. The most widespread work model required a rigid separation of private and work realms as the expectation was that a worker was paid for dedicating his strength, skills, attention for a certain amount of time un...

  • Talking with Mother - it really is about comforting

    In the last few months my students from ENSAD and I have been doing interviews with people who have relatives and family abroad. I wanted to study how communication patterns of transnational families were changing thanks to services like Skype.  The vagaries of recruiting people led us to have a mix of households, some with very significant and recent ties with people in distant countries and some who simply came from families who had migr...

  • The small size of our communication network

    From 2004 to 2008 Researchers at Swisscom have asked more than 500 people, from all age groups, life stages, professional, linguistic, and regional backgrounds, to keep a record of all their communications, with the exclusion of professional exchanges and face-to-face conversations. Participants have been asked to keep a diary for four days, jotting down every mediated interaction. This includes dialogues that occurred via SMS, email, voice cal...

  • The advantages of asynchronous channels

    Synchronous communication,such as a voice call, has a very strong prerequisite: that both interlocutors are available at the same time for the conversation. Available, willing and ready to dedicate the necessary amount of attention required for the conversation. When people are face to face it is easy for both interlocutors to see and understand if the other person is available for a conversation. When people are distant this readiness for conv...

  • When voice is preferred to text (rarely)

    Although text seems to be preferred in most interactions essentially because of its asynchronous nature, there are  topics and discussions that can only be done orally and synchronously. When there is a complex issue, a certain level of disagreement or ambiguity, when the interlocutors don't really understand each other, voice calls are by far preferred to other channels. We have often heard IM users telling us that if there is any doubt...

  • Analysing accidents : When a train engineer sends 57 texts on duty

    29.09.2009 On September the 12th 2008 a Metrolink commuter train did not stop at a red light and crashed into a freight train in Chatsworth California.  Twentyfive people including the train engineer  (who was driving the commuter train) were killed and it was deemed the worst train accident of the decade in the USA.  It is a very interesting case because it received huge media attention and the finding that the train engineer had been text...

  • The role of private communication in accidents

    07.10.2009 The two accidents we analysed in the other sections (Metrolink accident at Chastworth and the Hudson river midair collision) have in common the fact that one of the people responsible for the security of the passengers was engaged in a private communication at the time of the crash. In the first case the train driver was texting, in the second the air traffic controller was making a phone conversation with a colleague. The cas...

  • The role of cultural representations in the diffusion of innovation

    In the 1980's a wave of research in cognitive science examined the role of preconceptions, in the form of naive theories and mental models, in shaping our understanding of the world (Gentner & Stevens, 1983, McClosky 1983, ). Research on naïve physics, on folk theories of psychology, on mental models , convincingly showed that people do not face a new reality from scratch but use their pre-existing knowledge to approach it intelligently. P...




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