From selective indulgence to engagement: exploratory studies on photolurking

Haliyana Khalid and Alan Dix
Computing Department, InfoLab21, Lancaster University, UK
[ haliyana on the web ] [ alan on the web ]

Short Paper at HCI2006, September 2006, London UK.

Download draft paper (PDF, 48K)


Based on three empirical studies of user experience in photologs, this paper introduces the concept of selective indulgence as part of user behaviour when lurking and sharing photographs. Displaying personal and domestic photographs in the public domain invites both acquaintances and unknown audiences. Despite the apparently limited communication offered by photologs, the studies reveal how participants allow themselves to spend time lurking on other people's photographs almost every day. The act of photolurking is usually done alone and involves selection from large numbers of photographs of every kind. This careful choice of what to look at, leading to intense emotion and engagement, is what we term selective indulgence. This study opens up new insights to inform the design of user experience in digital photo sharing. In particular the paper highlights the intensity of individual emotion, the phenomenon of using global photo sharing sites to share images with people physically very close, and subsequent gossiping and discussion of the photos not using the supplied commenting mechanisms.

keywords: user experience, indulgence, engagement, photo sharing


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Full reference:
H. Khalid and A. Dix (2006). From selective indulgence to engagement: exploratory studies on photolurking.
In Volume 2, Proceedings of the 20th British HCI Group Annual Conference, B. Fields, T. Stockman, L. Valgerour, P. Healey (eds) , Queen Mary, University of London, London; The British Computer Society. pp. 17-20.
In the press:
New Scientist Just can't get e-nough 20 Dec 2006 Von Google-Stalking bis Photolurkinga> 21 Dec 2006
LU News Are you a photologger or a photolurker? Jan 2007
Mail online The 'photolurkers' who snoop on online family albums 22 Jan 2007
UsabilityNews Media: New Scientist on what we do with Flickr, 5 Feb 2007

Alan Dix 5/6/2006