Private Public Spaces: The Impact of Technological Advances on People's Comfort Levels for Conversations


Jessica Geary

Date of Award


Degree Type

Archival Copy

First Advisor

Ira Silver


Purpose: Society has moved from having physical private spaces to carrying social networks in mobile devices. Mobile phones allow people to text or call someone from any location, and now smartphones have added Internet use to provide further uses. This study looks at why people are so comfortable with the change to private public spaces where one can be in public and hold private conversations. Methods: To address this question college aged students (18-22) who are currently attending Framingham State University were interviewed. Participants were found through snowball sampling, where participants would recommend and contact people they knew to be interviewed. The interviews were conducted one on one and lasted between fifteen to forty-five minutes. Results: This research indicates that new social norms have developed because of the innovation of mobile technology. Some common themes appeared in the interviews including multitasking, new social norms, and convenience. Conclusion: The major finding through this research is how much multi-tasking has become a major part of life and has created new social norms for us. Some ways are productive, such as working through email between classes, while other are harmful, such as texting and driving. As the world moves at a faster pace with information always available, the idea of efficiency has become ingrained in people. Students keep up with school, work, personal relationships, family and more using their devices to contact those they may not have time to see, or can replace spending time with someone by talking on the phone.

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