This research in progress proposes an approach to technology adoption that focuses on technology as sign and symbol. Drawing from social theory and consumer behavior literature, we initiate a qualitative study that uses both subject narrative and a visual interpretation of the subject (through photographs of the subject and their technology) to identify how each subject’s social environment builds his or her understanding of the object and its attractiveness. The study is a two-phase project. Phase I involves both a large-scale collection of subject narratives about their technologies and an interpretation of subject images. Phase II involves an interpretation of the results from a series of personal face-to-face interviews of subjects in public venues. The results from these two phases of data collection and analysis will be presented and discussed at the conference.