Smartphones as Polymedia

Madianou, Mirca. 2014. Smartphones as Polymedia. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 19(3), pp. 667-680. ISSN 1083-6101 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article investigates whether smartphones function as environments of polymedia (Madianou & Miller, 2012) and assesses their consequences for transnational families. Drawing on research with UK-based Filipino migrants, the article observes that users treat smartphones as integrated environments of communicative opportunities and exploit the differences within media in order to express emotions and manage their relationships with their family members who remain in the Philippines. For smartphone users, being online emerges as the default position and there is evidence that new media become constitutive of relationships in situations of extreme separation. However, technology cannot overcome difficulties that are fundamentally social. Moreover, the article observes the emergence of a new ‘care divide’ between those who own smartphones and those who do not.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


smartphones; media environments; media ecologies; convergence; polymedia; personal communication; socialities; intimacy at a distance; care divides; Philippines

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


April 2014Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

29 Oct 2014 11:26

Last Modified:

16 Apr 2021 15:15

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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