Based on design-oriented ethnographic fieldwork in museums, science centres and zoos, this presentation explores ways mobile social photography as a practice can be studied. The presentation will examine ways that visitors broaden and share their experiences of visits by using mobile technologies. In particular, the practice of sharing images and video, both in real-time with co-visitors and asynchronously through the Internet will be discussed. Examination of observational video of visitor practices, visitor-produced images and video, and visitor contributions to sharing platforms such as Instagram and YouTube reveal changed and expanded visit experiences. The insights generated question the nature of the ‘principal user’ of an exhibit, and illustrate ways that mobile technologies re-configure the interactivity of exhibitions. This presentation will discuss ways technological mediation of the local and online experiences of visitors can be studied and connected to reveal ways that social photography practices extend both the physical and temporal reach of visits.
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