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.


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]