Breaching perpetual contact: Withdrawing from mobile and social media use in everyday life

Authors

  • André H. Caron Université de Montréal
  • Kate K. Mays Boston University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v26i8.11652

Keywords:

mobile communication, social capital, self-identity, disconnection, breaching experiments

Abstract

This qualitative study aimed to investigate the norms and daily practices around mobile and social technology by examining what happens when mobile phones and social media on any devices are removed from one’s daily life. Most studies on technology non-use focus on one device or plat-form. In this study, participants (N = 78) relinquished not only social media but also their mobile phones for a 10-day period, and made observations on their experiences before, during, and after the “withdrawal.” Participants initially experienced guilt and anxiety over violating a social contract by not being available and reachable anytime and anywhere, but mostly found their social capital — particularly bonding social capital — reinforced through the withdrawal. On the personal front, participants (re)discovered certain “life skills” like memory, imagination, and creativity in navigating their physical world and spending their time.

Author Biographies

André H. Caron , Université de Montréal

Professeur émérite in the Department of Communication at the Université de Montréal and former Director of this Department.

Kate K. Mays, Boston University

Kate K. Mays recently completed her doctorate in emerging media studies at Boston University’s College of Communication, where she continues to teach and conduct research.

Downloads

Published

2021-07-04

How to Cite

André H. Caron, & Kate K. Mays. (2021). Breaching perpetual contact: Withdrawing from mobile and social media use in everyday life. First Monday, 26(8). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v26i8.11652