The Connected Home: probing the effects and affects of domesticated ICTs
Homes were connected electronically to the outside world less than 100 years ago. And now, (as if the home has not been burdened with enough responsibility), it is asked to play a major role as a communications node in a global network of interactive media. The homes of many (but not all), connect directly to friends, acquaintances, and 500 million strangers: to the local community, to work, to social, political, and commercial organizations, to entertainment and service providers. This paper describes a method to collaborate with households to investigate the effective uses of such technologies, the affects of this use, and how the home domesticates the technologies. To collaborate with households in the project we propose a novel research strategy derived from Gaver’s “cultural probes”, and this strategy is described. In so doing, the paper hopes to make a methodological contribution to the empirical study of domestic ICTs at a time when the field of community networking is attracting a surge of research interest.