Into the Grey Zone: Seniors, Cell Phones and Milieus That Matter

Within the burgeoning literature on the everyday and innovative uses of cell phones and mobile technologies, there is a concentration of detailed statistical or ethnographic data on those who are young or middle-aged (Ito, 2005; Caronia and Caron, 2004; Thulin & Vilhelmson, 2007). With the exception of a handful of articles (Wong, Thwaites, & Khong, 2008; Lee, 2008), much less attention, scholarly or otherwise, is paid to those who are fifty-five and over: this demographic constitutes a ‘grey zone’ literally and metaphorically (Harris-Decima, 2008). Our research on ‘Seniors and Cells’ rectifies this absence and is intended to contribute, productively, to the discussion of the intertwining dimensions of age, technology, and the everyday practices of citizenship by differentiating between ‘shades of grey’: we highlight what they do, and try to make sense of it in their terms, rather than comparing seniors with more ‘active’ user-groups.

On the Dérive for Mobile Experience

This paper describes our deployment of a new method for observing and understanding the mobile user experience. This new method is built upon the concept of the Dérive, a theory and method appropriated from the French Situationists. In our research on mobile user experiences, the Dérive is used to inspire mobile storytelling.