ANZCA Keynote in July 2014

I was recently asked to give a keynote presentation for the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) in July 2014. I’m thrilled to be speaking to this group of people and share my ideas around mobile media, embodiment, and communication studies. This will also be my first time in Australia! I’ll be there for three weeks since, soon after ANZCA, I’ll be spending time at Swinburne University working with Rowan Wilken’s locative media grant. I look forward to seeing some of you in Australia!

Awarded Future of Information Alliance Grant

My graduate students and I have won a competitive grant through the Future of Information Alliance and the Deutsch Foundation. The $25,000 grant supports the design and initial testing of an iPhone application called “Approach.” The app will guide participants through pathways around campus, listening to audio narratives gathered from people in the local community. The stories tell the often-untold narratives about these spaces and seek to demonstrate that no single story can or should dominate a space. The app will become an important platform for people to tell their stories and includes a feature for participants to upload their own stories to the path. The Approach group includes American Studies graduate students Jessica Walker, Jarah Moesch, Paul Saiedi, and Dan Greene as well Digital Cultures and Creativity student, JB Wills. We will be working on the Approach project alongside their community partner, WAMU 88.5 (our local NPR affiliate).

Awarded Center for Teaching Excellence Fellowship

I was chosen, alongside 9 other faculty members from across the University of Maryland, to be a Lilly Fellow with the Center for Teaching Excellence during the 2012-2013 academic year. As fellows with the Center for Teaching Excellence, the faculty will meet weekly to work on a collaborative project that will benefit the faculty at the university. We will focus on the theme, “Making the Most out of Class Time in a Digital World,” and are working on an academic commons site for teachers to share their successes, failures, and advice for teaching. The site will be called the Teaching and Learning Exchange.

Mobile Interface Theory: Book of the Year by AoIR!

Mobile Interface Theory was just named the 2012 Book of the Year by the Association of Internet Researchers! This is an amazing honor and I’m truly humbled and excited by the award. The selection committee — Steve Jones, Sonia Livingstone, and Matthew Allen – had generous words for the book:

The committee was particularly impressed with Farman’s ability to bring into focus the centrality of place and lived time to the current and future analysis of connectivity and mediated communication. The book provided a nice combination of forward-thinking, theoretical yet empirically solid work grounded in a strong historical understanding of new media that opens up avenues for new research and new theory. “Mobile Interface Theory” also makes us look at the unfolding present and accept the changes foretold within. It has the potential to inform new scholarship, re-set directions, and remind us that, now, the Internet is not somewhere else, but right here, in our pockets, our minds, our places.

I will be traveling to the University of Salford (in Manchester, UK) this October to attend the AoIR conference. There, I’ll be presenting new research titled, “The Mobile Internet and Materiality: Tracing Flows of Locative Information.”

Guest Editor for Future Internet

I’m pleased to announce that the special issue of Future Internet that I guest edited has now been published! The topic of the special issue is “Social Transformations from the Mobile Internet,” and has a range of articles on the subject. 

Here is the link to the issue, which is open access:


“The Myth of the Disconnected Life” Published in The Atlantic

My article, “The Myth of the Disconnected Life,” was published in The Atlantic this past week. It discusses the emerging practices of taking a “Digital Sabbath” in which people set aside a day (or days) out of the week to disconnect from their digital devices. Advocates of this practice note that our always-on lifestyles have led to an overwhelming sense of disconnection with the people and places in our lives. My article argues that this cultural response has been with us throughout history: every time a new medium or technology emerges, there have been claims that this new technology is causing social disconnection. I end by noting ways that our digital devices are actually fostering a deep connection to people and places rather than eliminating it.

I’ve received an abundance of great feedback from everyone, especially on Twitter. Thank you for the kind words and for offering such compelling responses to my article. I look forward to continuing the conversation. I’m currently in the process of turning this into a book-length manuscript!

Here’s the link to the article: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/02/the-myth-of-the-disconnected-life/252672/


“Encouraging Distraction?” Published in the Chronicle of Higher Ed

My article, “Encouraging Distraction? Classroom Experiments with Mobile Media,” was published in the ProfHacker section of the Chronicle of Higher Education. In the article, I talk about how I used iPads in my undergraduate class last semester. I teach in a program that gives all entering students an iPad, so I had to figure out how to use it effectively (having never before used an iPad)!

You can read the article here: http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/encouraging-distraction-classroom-experiments-with-mobile-media/38454

Invited Talk: Emerging Media, Acceleration, and Information Overload

On March 8th, I’ll be giving a guest lecture to the Critical Studies Colloquium at George Mason University. My talk will be titled, “Emerging Media, Acceleration, and Information Overload: A Media Archaeology Approach.” Here’s my brief description of the talk:


In the conclusion of my book, Mobile Interface Theory, I discuss the ideas of acceleration and information overload, pointing toward how we have experienced these effects every time a new medium emerges. I argue that the cultural imaginaries around cellphones and pervasive computing tend to simplify the complex ways we use these devices. These reactions also tend to lean toward nostalgia rather than historic tracings of our cultural reactions to emerging media. In this talk, I will discuss the history of information overload and how cellphones have been the latest medium to be accused of disconnecting us from the people and places immediately around us. I also look at issues of multitasking and will also discuss ways that these emerging media can foster a sense of depth and intimacy.

My Conference Presentation, “Mapping Virtual Communities”

I will present a paper at this year’s Association of American Geographers conference in New York. My presentation is titled, “Mapping Virtual Communities: Cultural Imaginaries of the Diaspora and the Production of Crisis Maps.” I will be a part of the panel titled, “Communicating Through Crisis” that meets on Sunday, February 26 at 12:40pm in Concourse F in the Hilton.

Here’s my abstract:

When a massive earthquake hit the island country of Haiti in 2010, most emergency response organizations were unable to navigate through the destroyed landscape since many of the roads in the area had not been adequately mapped by major digital mapping distributors like Google. In response, a community of open source developers created a platform for the creation of “crisis maps” of Haiti, which included specifics about emergencies and individual needs throughout the country. The primary cartographers and translators for this project were people worldwide who were part of the Haitian diaspora. The practices of this diaspora as a “virtual community” served as a way to respond to the traumas of their homeland through cartographic practices. By mapping the spaces and traumas of Haiti, the diaspora produced the embodied space they inhabited as a virtual community in a time in which their identities were pulled between distance and intimacy. They sought to bridge this distance by contributing to the representation of a place that has a multiplicity of connections for the diaspora: for some, they mapped the streets they once called home; for others, they mapped a space that had always been “virtual,” a homeland they had never seen but belonged to through a common cultural imaginary. Thus, the representations created by the diaspora fundamentally affected the practice of this space as a distant homeland.

Mobile Interface Theory Published!

My book was officially released by Routledge Press on December 9th. I received my copies a few days later. Here’s a picture:

The book is now available on Amazon and on Routledge’s site. It will be released in January in Europe and Japan.