Mattias Rost

The thesis documents the design, building, and study of four innovative mobile media sharing applications. It covers not only different phases of this process, but also different ways in which applications and their use can be studied.

“We do not know what mobile media sharing will be in people’s everyday life in the future, and how it will develop into a medium distinct from those before. But this thesis gives a glimpse at what this future may look like,” Mattias Rost explains.

The key question of the thesis is: If media sharing is sharing photos, videos, and text with friends and others, what is it then that makes mobile media sharing different, apart from running on a mobile platform? To answer this, the key focus of this thesis is a set of experiments with new mobile media sharing applications.

The focus of the research is on applications where the mobility of the user is a key resource in the design of new communication media. This means that the physical movement of users themselves (and their devices) becomes an input and enabler for the system.

Just as the web dominated over other online media, it is clear that mobile will become the dominant way of communicating using computers. Indeed, more broadly mobile devices have quickly become the predominant way that the world uses computing technology. Yet social media in some ways retains its web focused way of working.

“There is much new potential in exploiting the opportunities of mobile situated social interactions. It is not just that location can now be used in applications, but that the whole situation and mode of use can enable new applications,” Mattias stresses.

The studies
Three systems were designed, built, and studied: Push!Music, Columbus, and Portrait Catalog, and a fourth commercially available system was studied – Foursquare. The thesis offers four contributions: First, it explores the design space of co-present media sharing of four test systems. Second, through user studies of these systems it reports on how these come to be used. Third, it explores new ways of conducting trials as the technical mobile landscape has changed. Last, the technical solutions demonstrate different lines of thinking from how similar solutions might look today.

With the work in this thesis on mobility as an enabler for mobile media sharing, it can give us an insight on how mobility shapes us as a medium. As Marshall McLuhan puts it: “We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us”. Similarly to how early television programming resembled radio shows before television became its own medium, mobile systems can develop into their own media distinct from those that came before.

The thesis is at its heart about creating new opportunities for technology. It offers concepts for other researchers to develop further, taking from the lessons learnt from these careful studies and the contributions of the concepts described.

“We will undoubtedly see many incarnations of ideas emanating from the work in this thesis in years to come, as we have already seen some. There is room for both continued research in this area, but also for commercial applications,” Mattias concludes.

Mattias Rost successfully defended his thesis on March 11.


The thesis - Mobility is the message

The five papers

  1. Facilitating Mobile Music Sharing and Social Interaction with Push!Music
  2. Gifts from friends and strangers: A study of mobile music sharing
  3. Mobile exploration of geotagged photographs
  4. Teens Using Portrait Catalog: An Evaluation Of a Mobile Photo Sharing System
  5. Performing a Check-in: Emerging Practices, Norms and ‘Conflicts’ in Location-Sharing Using Foursquare.