1n1p48h is a collaborative space where students post and discuss their responses to an assignment designed increase the visibility of communication technology use. The point is not for students to say they use their phone too little or too often; that is, of course, personal preference. Rather, the goal is to better understand the complex relationships we have with our communication technologies and to think about the implications of those relationships.

Assignment Specifics — Logging Interactivities

Nancy Baym (2010) describes the degrees of interactivity we have with communication technologies, noting social interactivity, technical interactivity, and textual interactivity (p. 7). In this assignment you will be tracking and then blogging about your social interactivity and textual interactivity with your smartphone.

Each student will be given a Mini Composition notebook (the notebook can vary depending on availability but it should fit easily in a pocket) and one Pilot G-2 pen:

minit composition notebook and pilot pen

Over one 48 hour period between Friday 10/2 and Friday 10/9, I would like you to record in the Mini Composition notebook with the Pilot G-2 pen each time you pick up your phone for the purposes of social interactivity and/or textual interactivity, as the terms are defined by Baym (p. 7). The interactivity can be momentary, like checking a text message that just came in, or extended, like talking on the phone. It includes interacting with social networking apps, writing apps, photography apps, gaming apps, and so on. In other words, just about anything you are doing with your phone, I would like you to pause, recognize you are using it, and record what you have done.

I’d like you to record the following in your notebooks:

  1. The number of the activity, starting at 1
  2. The date of the activity
  3. The time of the activity
  4. Approximately how long the activity lasted
  5. Whether it was social interactivity, textual interactivity, or both
  6. What the activity was (playing games, SnapChatting, etc.)
  7. What activity, if any, was happening when you used your phone

The easiest way to do this is to create columns in your notebook that spread across two pages:

notebook with columns

Constraints and Guidelines

The 48-hour period must include part of at least 1 week day (for example, noon Sunday to noon Tuesday). The 48-hour period cannot be one where you are at your place of employment for more than 6 hours each day.

You may obfuscate activities you don’t wish to be written down (for example, if you were out at night doing what college students do, you might write “hanging out with friends”). If you fill up one whole notebook (using every line for a new activity) before the 48 hour period is over, you may stop. If a teacher asks you why you keep jotting in a notebook, I suggest you don’t say, “Because I was just looking at my phone.” If you lose the pen or the notebook, let me know as I have a few extras.

Take the notebook and pen everywhere you go and try to have fun with this assignment.