METTE GISLEV KJAERSGAARD This paper describes how ‘The Post’ (a postal service company in the northern part of Europe) sets out to design an online digital platform for involving their employees in developing new services for the company. It is a story of a design project that failed to accomplish this task, but through sensitivity to serendipity disclosed other and potentially more valuable business opportunities in the process. It is also a story about design anthropology as a particular way of engaging with ‘the field’; challenging assumptions and eliciting insight through design orientated investigations of actual and potential relations between people, things, practices and contexts....
The Calculus of Small Change: An Ethnography of Unlearning
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MARIJKE RIJSBERMAN Technological innovation obsolesces not only earlier technologies, but also the knowledge, skills, and expertise of the users of those technologies. Individual obsolescence is generally written off as the cost of participation in a vibrant capitalist economy, a small price to pay and part of the creative destruction that makes the entire system work. This paper takes a closer look at the individual costs of such obsolescence, through an investigation of the particular class of changes that present themselves subsequent to an individual’s adoption decision—updates, upgrades, service packs, redesigns, patches, bug fixes, feature releases, versions, and other putative enhancements crowding into the contemporary technological landscape with increasing frequency. Updates make up a much-neglected but significant proportion of the total number of changes that make their way to those who participate—whether whole-heartedly or with reservations, willingly or as the unsought consequence of their participation in the labor...
(In)visible partners: People, Algorithms, and Business Models in Online Dating
EPIC People • 1 Comment
ELIZABETH CHURCHILL and ELIZABETH S. GOODMAN A confluence of personal, technical and business factors renders priorities, practices, and desires visible – and invisible – when people use online dating sites to look for partners. Based on a review of websites, interviews with dating site designer/developers, and interviews with would-be daters about their online experiences and their first dates, we offer some insights into the entanglement between daters, site implementers, and business models that is part and parcel of getting ‘matched’ via the Internet. We also examine the role of the website interface and match algorithms in the expression of the “real me” and the search for “the one” – and then how processes of self-presentation and partner imagination play into the planning, expectation-setting and experience of the first date. Finally, we reflect on issues raised for design and for strategic technology development. This study of online-offline encounters is an example of using detailed qualitative analyses...