Moving Data: The iPhone and the Future of Media

Ed. by Pelle Snickars & Patrick Vonderau
New York: Columbia University Press 2012

The book is prominently displayed on Columbia University Press’ home page: You will also find the book’s introduction on CUP’s website: Check CUP’s blog ( for updates, interviews, and other features.

«Like the iPhone itself, Moving Data is personal, mobile, and globally networked. Established and emerging scholars from media, information, and cultural studies track the transnational trajectory of the iPhone. These essays are accessible to a general reader, even while keeping in mind the telling differences between contacts and critique, apps and analysis.»—Richard Grusin, director, Center for Twenty-First Century Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
“The editors of this volume are well-connected and savvy in their arrangement of critical entry points and scholarly voices. Like The YouTube Reader, this is an extremely useful and timely collection, with a range of essays that do justice to the multifaceted possibilities bound together as the iPhone.”—William Uricchio, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Comparative Media Studies

“The iPhone is the first landmark twenty-first century invention. Not only the embodiment of a ‘disruptive technology,’ with its ‘applications’ reversing the semantics of hardware to software, it also confirms that we need mobility studies to succeed—if not to supersede—cultural studies. Moving Data nimbly signals these shifts and serves as a sure-footed road map to new territory.”—Thomas Elsaesser, author of The Persistence of Hollywood

The iPhone has revolutionized not only how people communicate but also how we consume and produce culture. Combining traditional and social media with mobile connectivity, smartphones have redefined and expanded the dimensions of everyday life, allowing individuals to personalize media as they move and process constant flows of data. Today, millions of consumers love and live by their iPhones, but what are the implications of its special technology on society, media, and culture?

Featuring an eclectic mix of original essays, Moving Data explores the iPhone as technological prototype, lifestyle gadget, and platform for media creativity. Media experts, cultural critics, and scholars consider the device’s newness and usability—even its “lickability”—and its “biographical” story. The book illuminates patterns of consumption; the fate of solitude against smartphone ubiquity; the economy of the App Store and its perceived “crisis of choice”; and the distance between the accessibility of digital information and the protocols governing its use. Alternating between critical and conceptual analyses, essays link the design of participatory media to the iPhone’s technological features and sharing routines, and they follow the extent to which the pleasures of gesture-based interfaces are redefining media use and sensory experience. They also consider how user-led innovations, collaborative mapping, and creative empowerment are understood and reconciled through changes in mobile surveillance, personal rights, and prescriptive social software. Presenting a range of perspectives and arguments, this book reorients the practice and study of media critique.

Pelle Snickars is head of research at the National Library of Sweden and coeditor, with Patrick Vonderau, of The YouTube Reader. His work can be found at Patrick Vonderau is associate professor in the Department of Media Studies at Stockholm University and a cofounder and board member of NECS–European Network for Cinema and Media Studies (