Intimacy and Connection


May 7, 2012 @ 16:30, Room: Ballroom G

Chair: Mary Czerwinski, Microsoft Research, USA
Intimacy in Long-Distance Relationships over Video Chat - Paper
Community: designCommunity: user experience
Contribution & Benefit: Describes an interview study of how couples in long distance relationships use video chat systems for shared living and intimacy over distance. Provides suggestions for future video chat system design.
Abstract » Many couples live a portion of their lives in a long-distance relationship (LDR). This includes a large number of dating college students as well as couples who are geographically-separated because of situational demands such as work. We conducted interviews with individuals in LDRs to understand how they make use of video chat systems to maintain their relationships. In particular, we have investigated how couples use video to "hang out" together and engage in activities over extended periods of time. Our results show that regardless of the relationship situation, video chat affords a unique opportunity for couples to share presence over distance, which in turn provides intimacy. While beneficial, couples still face challenges in using video chat, including contextual (e.g., location of partners, time zones), technical (e.g., mobility, audio/video quality, networking), and personal (e.g., a lack of physicality needed by most for intimate sexual acts) challenges.
How Do Couples Use CheekTouch over Phone Calls? - Note
Community: design
Contribution & Benefit: Describes how romantic couples use a novel audio-tactile communication technique called CheekTouch over phone calls. Shows a possibility of enriching emotions with touch over phone calls.
Abstract » In this paper we introduce CheekTouch, an affective audio-tactile communication technique that transmits multi-finger touch gestures applied on a sender's mobile phone to a receiver's cheek in real time during a call. We made a pair of CheekTouch prototypes each with a multi-touch screen and vibrotactile display to enable bidirectional touch delivery. We observed four romantic couples in their twenties using our prototype system in a lab setting over five consecutive days, and analyzed how CheekTouch affected their non-verbal and emotional communication. The results of the user study showed that CheekTouch could effectively support audio-tactile communication in various ways - persuading, conveying status, delivering information, emphasizing emotion/words, calling for attention, and being playful.
The Spread of Emotion via Facebook - Note
Community: design
Contribution & Benefit: Correlational study showing that emotions (defined as posts with emotional words) spread through Facebook. Also addresses two confounds in the Emotional Contagion literature.
Abstract » In this paper we study large-scale emotional contagion through an examination of Facebook status updates. After a user makes a status update with emotional content, their friends are significantly more likely to make a valence-consistent post. This effect is significant even three days later, and even after controlling for prior emotion expressions by both users and their friends. This indicates not only that emotional contagion is possible via text-only communication and that emotions flow through social networks, but also that emotion spreads via indirect communications media.
It's Complicated: How Romantic Partners Use Facebook - Paper
Contribution & Benefit: A qualitative study exploring how romantic partners make Facebook-related decisions and how Facebook's affordances support them. Provides examples/ideas for thinking about designs and theorizing about ways people manage privacy and relationships.
Abstract » Romantic partners face issues of relational development including managing information privacy, tension between individual and relational needs, and accountability to existing friends. Prior work suggests that affordances of social media might highlight and shape these tensions; to explore this, we asked 20 people to reflect daily for two weeks on feelings and decisions around their own and others' Facebook use related to their relationships. Most generally, we find that tensions arise when romantic partners must manage multiple relationships simultaneously because Facebook audiences are so present and so varied. People also engage in subtle negotiation around and appropriation of Facebook's features to accomplish both personal and relational goals. By capturing both why people make these decisions and how Facebook's affordances support them, we expect our findings to generalize to many other social media tools and to inform theorizing about how these tools affect relational development.
Lost in Translation: Understanding the Possession of Digital Things in the Cloud - Paper
Community: design
Contribution & Benefit: Presents and interprets field evidence related to people's perceptions of personal digital things kept in Cloud Computing environments. Findings are interpreted to detail design and research opportunities.
Abstract » People are amassing larger and more diverse collections of digital things. The emergence of Cloud computing has enabled people to move their personal files to online places, and create new digital things through online services. However, little is known about how this shift might shape people�s orientations toward their digital things. To investigate, we conducted in depth interviews with 13 people comparing and contrasting how they think about their possessions, moving from physical ones, to locally kept digital materials, to the online world. Findings are interpreted to detail design and research opportunities in this emerging space.