With mobile technologies increasingly weaving themselves into the fabric of
our communities, it would be beneficial to increase our understanding of how
these devices will affect our quality of life. This chapter presents a case
study where a set of prototypes of future social technology concepts were
generated and used by groups of backpackers in a mobile community. One of
these concepts, which facilitated viewing the locations of other group
members, is evaluated with regard to how it might affect community
This and other examples illustrate that communication technologies form a
social path which guides individual and emergent behavior of societies.
Determination of where these paths lead can be accomplished through the
creation of development projects with positive social aims. Using
collaborative research methods, considering design outcome spectra, and
adding features with implicit cultural values are promising strategies for
influencing future communities.
Jeff Axup, Ph.D.
Principal Consultant, Mobile Community Design Consulting, San Diego