The home screen as an anchor point for mobile media use: Technologies, practices, identities
Author(s): Werning, Stefan
Mobile media use is more dispersed and de-centralised than ever – spatially and socially, but also in terms of the platforms and apps involved. In that context, the home screen of the smartphone’s operating system arguably acts as an anchor point and catalyst that not only shapes the procedural rhetoric of the apps using it but also ‘remediates’ several traditional functions that we associate with the notion of home. This article conceptualises the home screen as a hybrid concept between place and practice. For instance, customising the screen can be interpreted as a playful performance of the user’s online identity, especially since sharing screenshots is becoming increasingly common as a cultural practice. This notion of curating the surface of one’s media device and assessing it in aesthetic terms is contextualised with reference to historical practices of constructing domesticity in the 19th century by way of designing and photographing one’s family home. To retrace the shifting functions of the Android and iOS home screen, the article pursues a comparative software studies approach that outlines how they evolve as socio-technical systems in terms of affordances, material metaphors, and rhetoric, often reflecting public discourse around mobile phone use in general. Finally, the findings are offset against prominent discursive frames that characterise the home screen as a ‘hallowed place’, thereby demonstrating the ongoing relevance but also the ambiguity of the concept of home in mobile media use.
Werning, Stefan: The home screen as an anchor point for mobile media use: Technologies, practices, identities. In: NECSUS. European Journal of Media Studies, Jg. 5 (2016), Nr. 2, S. 151–170. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25969/mediarep/3361.
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