IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - Winter 2013 - 40

headsets do not seem to change
divided attention, but instead free
the hands to do even more tasks.

Adaptive Strategies,
Social Media and
Geospatial Context
Mobile technology in a community
is a tripartite adaptation: people are
adapting to a level of technology,
the communications they receive,
and the roles they need to maintain within the community for it to
continue to exist. More and more
people are purchasing smartphones
and within that realm there are
many choices for software, and a
few types of hardware to choose
from. The apps for smartphones
vary widely and there are over
900  000 apps for the iPhone [23]
and close to 865 000 apps available
for Android enabled smartphones
[24]. The chances of any phone
containing the exact combination
of apps as any other phone is small.

social media represents a different
channel for making social connections. Facebook or email might be
the only social media some people
use, others might use text, Facebook, Email, Twitter, Google+, and
Quora concurrently.
Twitter is in a unique category
in that it can be used for many different types of activities, ranging
from a simple rSS feed, to conversations, commenting, connecting, sharing, and other types of
app functions. with 140 character
updates, it is easy for people to participate quickly and to dart in and
out of the app without having to
spend much time. Twitter also provides ample opportunities for users
to examine their activity and compare against others› productions
[25]. Fragmentation is encouraged
by apps that support one-to-many
connections, like Twitter and Facebook, whose updates go collectively to any number of "friends"

PolySocial Reality is a framework
representing complex synchronous
and asynchronous messaging
contexts.
That said, there is some homogeneity with apps that people do have
and use in common because these
are commonly known and used.
Google as a search engine
remains popular on both devices,
and web browsers have reduced
in number as people mostly use
Safari and Chrome. Map services
are slightly more varied but largely
Apple's Maps, Google Maps, or
AOL's MapQuest are used for navigation. Facebook and Twitter are
highly popular social media apps,
with Google+ and others gaining
a foothold. There are specific apps
such as Linked In for professional
associations or Match.com, OkCupid, Grindr, and others that use a
specialized apps for dating or otherwise connecting. Each type of
40

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who may "like" or comment,
which then go to their friends and
the compounding multiplex begins
and cascades.
Geolocation apps do somewhat
ameliorate fragmentation. People
with mobile devices can reconnect
with their communities, using apps
to identify locate resources such as
restaurants, shops and other businesses in the local locale. Examples
include Urbanspoon, a restaurant
locator or Yelp!, a directory and
review service for communities.
Some apps, such as Foursquare,
enable people to "check-in" to a
physical place, take advantage of
special local deals, and see who
else has been or is there. Ambient,
and Geo/Social/Local sensing apps
work towards reuniting people in

the community, or at least the local
locale where they themselves are
present. Examples of these include
Highlight, Glancee, Banjo, Sonar,
and Kismet. By using network data
from the user and their location,
combined with that of others, people see who is nearby to them and
this encourages a local connection.
A networked community becomes
partially integrated with the local
one and people have opportunities
to interact directly.
Different conditions arise in the
community on streets and sidewalks, depending upon the different
type of apps that people are using.
The person walking down the street
talking on their cell phone may or
may not be having a conversation
with someone else within the community; we have no way of knowing and in any case their attention is
divided between their conversation
and local locale. On a neighborhood
sidewalk there may be many people
walking, but few connecting. On our
daily walks, we encounter people
walking dogs plugged into and talking on cell phones. In the past, we
may have caught each other's eye,
said, "hello" or exchanged a greeting or information about the neighborhood. Now all we know about
them is how they look (when exercising or walking their dogs or pushing babies) and their type of dog or
stroller. There is little information
about them at the community level.
They are connected, but not to others in the neighborhood (unless talking with each other) and they are
individuated to each other on the
sidewalk.
In summary, each smartphone is
a highly heterogenous environment
that represents for its user a diverse
set of people, languages, devices,
locations, time-zones, synchronous
and/or asynchronous messages
with some overlapping homogeneity with others they know.

PolySocial Reality (PoSR)
rainie and wellman [1] propose
a networked individualism that

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