"Wifi will be turned off between 12-3 due to lunchtime rush" - sign on the till at Store St Espresso, London

“Wifi will be turned off between 12-3 due to lunchtime rush” – sign on the till at Store St Espresso, London

Coffee and Wifi is the project blog of Jess Perriam’s dissertation.

About the project

“The internet cafe is dead. Long live the cafe (with wifi).”

The role of the cafe in digital life has changed markedly in the past decade. Where previously we saw dedicated internet cafes full of desktop computers on the high street, we now see independent and mainstream cafes full of freelancers, students and other workers on laptops, tablets and mobile devices, connecting via wifi.

My proposed research will:

  • examine the existing dynamics of traditional cafe culture via literature review.
  • use ethnographic and creative qualitative research methods to determine how the ubiquity of wifi has disrupted traditional cafe culture and shaped a new culture.
  • examine current discourse around wifi in cafes on Twitter, FourSquare and other platforms, using quantitative digital social research methods.

Jess’ project will examine how the use of wifi in cafés changes the dynamic of social groups and settings. She will be using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to explore this topic further.

These methods may include:

  • Ethnography
  • Surveys, probes and interviews in cafe settings
  • Social network analysis
  • Discourse analysis

Jess is being supervised by  Dr Nina Wakeford from the Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London. The project has a projected completion date of late August 2013.

About Jess Perriam

Jess Perriam is currently studying a MA/MSc Digital Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London in the 2012/13 cohort.

Her research interests include: ethnography, social network analysis, creative qualitative research methods and sociology into design.

She is currently the student volunteer coordinator for EPIC2013 (Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference) to be held in London in September 2013.

Prior to studying digital sociology, Jess was an information architect in the Australian higher education sector; as well as a radio/online reporter for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

And yes, Jess likes to drink lots of coffee and pass the day shooting the breeze in a cafe.


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