Managing Mobile Multitasking: The Culture of iPhones on Stanford Campus

 Morgan G. Ames. “Managing Mobile Multitasking: The Culture of iPhones on Stanford Campus.” Proceedings of CSCW 2013, ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing. ACM Press, February 2013, 1487-1498.


This paper discusses three concepts that govern technosocial practices among university students with iPhones. First is the social expectation of constant connection that requires multitasking to achieve. Second is the resulting technosocial pecking order of who gets interrupted or ignored for whom. Third is the way that many students push back against these demands with techno-resistance, deliberately curtailing constant connection to reduce the negative effects of multitasking, in spite of the risk of social censure. These concepts are developed from interviews with 57 students, 30 hours of field observations, and a survey of 177 students on Stanford campus, which in particular explored iPhone use. This research concludes that so-called "digital natives" must still navigate familiar social dynamics and personal desires, both online and off. Providing a detailed description of how students from across campus make sense of iPhones in their everyday technosocial assemblages, this research suggests opportunities for more socially and cognitively sensitive design of smartphone features.


Last updated:

July 6, 2020