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Transitions in digital personhood

Transitions in digital personhood: Making sense of online activity in early retirement

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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  • Abigail Durrant (Lead / Corresponding author)
  • David Kirk
  • Diego Trujillo-Pisanty
  • Wendy Moncur
  • Kathryn Orzech
  • Tom Schofield
  • Chris Elsden
  • Andrew Monk

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI '17 Proceedings of the 35th Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-4655-9
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-4655-9
StatePublished - 6 May 2017


We present findings from an experience-centered study about how Internet use supports self-functioning following the life transition into retirement. This qualitative study engaged six recent retirees and included the field deployment of OnLines, a design research artifact that logged and visualized key online services used by each participant at home over a four-week period. An interview
was conducted before and after each deployment, alongside a group interview with three available participants. OnLines prompted participants’ perspective taking and reflection on their patterns of Internet use. Data was analyzed using a
phenomenological method. Position Exchange Theory was further used to understand retirees’ sense making on online activity from a lifespan perspective, informing the design of supportive online services. This paper delivers a three-fold contribution to the human-computer interaction (HCI) field: to the lifespan-oriented discourse by conceptualizing personhood as a dialogical phenomenon that develops and changes over time; to the ageing discourse by studying
retirees’ complex identities in the context of their life histories; to the discourse on research through design, using OnLines to foster participant reflection.

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