Advancing the Value of Ethnography

Invisible Evidence: Our Disconnection with Broadband Connectivity


Cite this article:

2018 Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference Proceedings, p. 697, ISSN 1559-8918,

PechaKucha Presentation

When our broadband connectivity at home stops working, it’s a crisis. When it does work it is magic, an invisible miracle most of us don’t understand. Our evidence for whether it is working great or barely working at all, is scant, murky and elusive. The telecommunications industry language used to measure and characterize connectivity is obtuse. Data transfer rates, data storage rates, and wireless frequency rates, all sound similar and make no sense to most people. So, what’s wrong with that? Who cares how many megabits per second download speed I’m getting? As long as I can stream The Crown, what difference does it make? That’s what I thought when I began doing research about people’s relationships with connectivity, and then I met people who changed my point of view. Connectivity is fundamental to how we experience the world and to our sense of well-being. We need ways to connect with our connectivity.

Susan Faulkner is a Senior Researcher at Intel Corporation where her work has focused on the future of connectivity, media creation and consumption, the role technology plays in people’s daily social transitions, and the role of women in the community of hackers and makers that are transforming the way physical objects are created.