This paper investigates evolving technology use by applying the distinction of time-in and time-out usage. This distinction describes how uses of technology within the life-world (i.e. the ordinary, the un-reflected) can be punctuated by time-out use when a user takes out time to consciously use or reflect on a medium. Data was collected through a longitudinal field study involving focus groups, interviews, and surveys from smart phone users during a six-month period. We have adopted a theoretically informed grounded approach to analyze our empirical data and present rich data. The results show how technology use evolves over time and provides theoretical explanation as to why usage changes with time. The time-in/out distinction shows how the value of an “extraordinary device” changes over time, thus accomplishing sensitivity to the artifact by examining the flow of activities. By repurposing the time-in/out distinction from its origin in media- and communications theory, this paper marks a pragmatic move that allows the distinction to be applied to more deeply understand the adoption and appropriation of technology products.
Bodker, Mads; Gimpel, Greg; and Hedman, Jonas, "Technology Use: Time-In or Time-Out" (2010). ECIS 2010 Proceedings. 135.