Moving Data. The iPhone and the Future of Media

Less than two years after its 2007 release, the iPhone vaulted into a symbol of the media engagement now transforming the world. Combining urban culture, social media, and mobile connectivity, the iPhone provided an embodied experience of movement within everyday life and the dynamic personalization of media amid constant flows of data. Today, millions of consumers love and live by their iPhones, but what are the implications of its special technology on society, media, and culture? Featuring an eclectic mix of original essays, this volume explores the iPhone as technological prototype, lifestyle gadget, and platform for media creativity. International scholars consider the device’s newness and usability—especially its “lickability”—and its “biographical” story. They explore ethnographic studies illuminating patterns of consumption; the fate of solitude against smartphone ubiquity; the economy of the app store and its perceived “crisis of choice;” and the distance between the accessibility of digital information and the protocols governing its use. Alternating between critical and conceptual analyses, essays link the design of participatory media to the iPhone’s technological features and routines of sharing, and they follow the extent to which the haptic pleasures of gesture-based interfaces are redefining traditional notions of media usage and sensory experience. Most important, they consider how user-led innovations, collaborative mapping, and creative empowerment are understood and reconciled with changes in mobile surveillance, personal rights, and prescriptive social software. Presenting a thrilling range of perspective and argument, this collection mirrors the very object it concerns, reorienting the practice and study of media critique.

Moving Data. The iPhone and the Future of Media (eds.) Pelle Snickars & Patrick Vonderau (New York: Columbia University Press, 2012).