Striving to Be King of Mobile Mountains: Communication and Organizing Through Digital Fitness Technology

William Roth Smith*, Jeffrey Treem

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study considers fitness-tracking applications as settings for communicative performances. Qualitative interviews and observations with 41 users of a cycling-focused fitness application revealed communicative themes of qualifying, social sharing, and withholding. Users also assessed other members through social-group comparing and upward comparing. This study develops theory by revealing how individuals use the technology to communicate about their physical acts, and how the context of use facilitates organizing processes. We argue that use of this fitness application extends our understanding of how communication can constitute a community of practice (CoP; Brown & Duguid, 1991; Lave & Wenger, 1991). Primarily, the hybrid online/offline nature of Strava complicates the traditional understanding of communication and CoPs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-151
Number of pages17
JournalCommunication Studies
Volume68
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 15 2017

Keywords

  • Communicative Performances
  • Community of Practice
  • Fitness Applications
  • Organizational Communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

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