Playful mobile communication: Services supporting the culture of play | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 3, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1757-2681
  • E-ISSN: 1757-269X


Communication has many functions; from linguistics to social psychology, there is ample evidence that communication fundamentally defines our ways of being, which is the reason changes in communicational practices and technologies are particularly interesting. This article focuses on the recent developments in playful mobile communication, firstly discussing play and playful practices in general, then moving on to contextualize the discussion in terms of contemporary mobile technology. Not just restricted to formal game play (ludus) but also including more improvisational forms of being playful (paidia), mobile play allows us some creative distance from the routine ways of communicating and is consequently more free-form than the more immediately utilitarian communicative acts. Playfulness also has certain distinctive features and it is possible to identify and discuss playfulness as it is expressed in the  design of new tools for communication, as well as in the communicative practices and attitudes dopted by the participants. This article provides an introduction to the study of playful communication, and proposes three key evaluation criteria for playfulness. It then proceeds to test these criteria in contemporary playful mobile communication services.


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