Data & Society > our work > academic journal > Communication, Mediation, and the Expectations of Data: Data Valences Across Health and Wellness Communities

International Journal of Communication | 05.18.15

Communication, Mediation, and the Expectations of Data: Data Valences Across Health and Wellness Communities

Brittany Fiore-Gartland, Gina Neff

“Communication technologies increasingly mediate data exchanges rather than human communication. We propose the term data valences to describe the differences in expectations that people have for data across different social settings. Building on two years of interviews, observations, and participation in the communities of technology designers, clinicians, advocates, and users for emerging mobile data in formal health care and consumer wellness, we observed the tensions among these groups in their varying expectations for data. This article identifies six data valences (self-evidence, actionability, connection, transparency, “truthiness,” and discovery) and demonstrates how they are mediated and how they are distinct across different social domains. Data valences give researchers a tool for examining the discourses around, practices with, and challenges for data as they are mediated across social settings.”

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