Thursday, October 22, 2015

Media flow

From my Inaugural Lecture, 15 September 2015.

Title: 'Connectivity isn't everything (but it's almost everything)'

Media Flow

Now, the prescription for this talk is to locate one’s work in the broad spectrum of one’s field and not to talk about specific research projects, but I have to show you a little bit about what we’re doing right now, because it is so exciting.

One of the problems we encountered in our distributed teams study was this: we wanted to understand individuals’ perceptions of their state of connectivity and, of course, it would be good to measure how much connectivity they had or didn’t have.  It turns out that individuals are perfectly capable at reporting how they ‘feel’ about the amount of media and meetings they have to deal with, but they are pretty bad (we all are) at estimating how much connectivity, i.e., the number of emails, text messages and social media messages, they actually were receiving.  

Our ‘Media Flow’ project addresses this problem by allowing us to measure the flow of messages a person receives.  Working with a tech partner, called Unified Inbox, we can redirect participants’ media through a common portal (Inbox), where it is not only counted, but time stamped so we can monitor ‘media flow’ in real time and over time to see patterns of connectivity.  In exchange, participants get to see their own media patterns and trends on a dashboard, which we have created. 

The obvious next stage of this research is to add bio feedback and so we are working with the Health Innovation team in the School of Population Health on a Strategic Research Fund application.  Our intent is to couple the media flow analytics with bio feedback so that users can monitor and modify their media use to not just for better performance, but for better well-being.

Overall, my intent and long-term goal for connectivity research is continued theorizing and empirical research, with direct applied benefits for those living in an age of connectivity.

So, that’s my research story … so far.

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