Technology Non-use

Vast amounts of research studying the use of social technologies have helped develop a deep, rich understanding of how such technologies mediate and are embedded in complex sociotechnical milieux. Technology use, however, is but one aspect of such systems. A less-studied complementary aspect is technology non-use. In instances where particular technologies become seemingly nearly pervasive, intentional and pointed absence of that technology becomes both analytically conspicuous and potentially informative. Examining the non-use of certain social technologies and the ramifications thereof may provide important insights to help develop a fuller understanding of the nature of sociotechnical systems.

This research contributes to and expands on the previous limited work on technology non-use, deepening our conceptualizations both of non-use and of “the user” in sociotechnical systems. Furthermore, this work offers non-use as a potentially transformative lens through which to examine long-standing issues of privacy and groups in technologically-mediated systems.


Baumer, E.P.S. (2018). Socioeconomic Inequalities in the Non/use of Facebook. in Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI). (Montréal, QC).

Guha, S., Baumer, E.P.S., and Gay, G. (2017). Regrets, I’ve Had A Few: When Regretful Experiences Do (and Don’t) Compel Users to Leave Facebook. in Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Supporting Group Work (GROUP). (Sanibel Island, FL).

Baumer, E.P.S., Xu, X., Chu, C., Guha, S., and Gay, G.K. (2017). When Subjects Interpret the Data: Social Media Non-use as a Case for Adapting the Delphi Method to CSCW. in Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing (CSCW). (Portland, OR).

Wyche, S.P. and Baumer, E.P.S. (2016). Imagined Facebook: An Exploratory Study of Non-Users’ Perceptions of Social Media in Rural Zambia. New Media & Society.

Baumer, E.P.S., Guha, S., Quan, E., Mimno, D., & Gay, G. (2015). How Non-use Experiences Influence the Likelihood of Social Media Reversion: Perceived Addiction, Boundary Negotiation, Subjective Mood, and Social Connections. Social Media + Society.

Baumer, E. P. S., Ames, M. G., Burrell, J., Brubaker, J. R., & Dourish, P. (2015). Why Study Technology Non-use? First Monday, 20(11).

Baumer, E.P.S., Burrell, J., Ames, M.G., Brubaker, J.R., & Dourish, P. (2015). On the Importance and Implications of Studying Technology Non-use. interactions, 22(2), 52–56.

Baumer, E.P.S. (2015). Usees. in ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI). (Seoul). [23% acceptance rate]

Baumer, E.P.S., Adams, P., Khovanskya, V., Liao, T., Smith, M.E., Sosik, V.S., Williams, K. (2013). Limiting, Leaving, and (re)Lapsing: A Survey of Facebook Non-use Practices and Experiences. in ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI). (Paris, France). [20% acceptance rate]