CSCW and IoT: we should study this

This paper in five sentences:

  1. People should look at IoT through the lens of CSCW and here’s why.
  2. IoT is objects cooperating or “socialising” with each other and with people.
  3. The objects and people need to coordinate to be effective.
  4. Context needs to be taken into account.
  5. We should study how people use IoT technology in their everyday lives.

I’m struggling to find anything to comment on in this paper.  It stood out as being the hardest paper to read. At first I thought it was because the authors were too smart for me, but I’m pretty sure it was just really poorly written—commas absent or in weird places, incomplete sentences, redundancies, plain weird sentence construction.  Most sentences could have had half the words taken out and said the same thing. It’s like a bad parody of academic writing (accessible to observation?  … Can’t you just say “observable?”). Perhaps the best example:

The practices these practitioners engage in are characterised by a certain regularity in the sense that they follow particular agreed upon criteria of correct conduct.

p. 5

The authors should have used Soylent.

I see that it’s been cited thirteen times since it was published in 20151.  Maybe Robertson and Wagner were the first to suggest that emerging IoT technologies would benefit from the kind of study/scrutiny CSCW scholars are good at.  They’re saying it shouldn’t only be seen as technology—it’s a social-technical network (as paraphrased by Crabtree and co. in their 2016 paper2).  If Robertson and Wagner were the first to see the potential for CSCW research on IoT, props to them.  I believe they’re right that both IoT and CSCW will be better for the cross-pollination.

1 –

2 – Building Accountability into the Internet of Things