When is it appropriate to use email, chat or videoconference and when should one take the trouble to travel en meet in real life? In the dissertation “Presence and the Design of Trust” Caroline Nevejan explores the effects of mediating presence and of witnessing each other both in natural presence as well as in mediated presence. She analyzed two networked events, The Galactic Hacker Party and the Seropositive Ball, which both happened in 1989 and 1990 in Paradiso, a musical venue in the centre of Amsterdam. At the time the technology was relatively raw and issues of trust and truth surfaced rather easily since interfaces were not as elaborate as they are today. As a result of this research Nevejan argues that natural presence is distinct, because the sense for what is good for survival and well-being can be more profound in natural presence than in mediated presence. However, mediated presence contributes significantly to the language people share and the concepts they use. Mediated presence can generate significant vital information. Witnessed presence has the potential to function as a catalyst both in natural as well as in mediated presence. Especially when facing issues of ethical nature, as happens in processes of innovation and evaluation, the gathering in natural presence is indispensable because the sense of presence can be maximized and will positively influence ideas and solutions that will nurture survival and well-being. As a result of her research Nevejan developed a 4 dimensional model, YUTPA, in which the relations between time, place, action and the other person can be analyzed. This model shows how the different configurations of presence include and exclude the potential building up or breaking down of trust.
www.nevejan.org: to download the dissertation
nev01.test.mediamatic.nl: experimental environment for unfolding the PhD