Cool paper. I remember seeing a talk on this a few years ago. I think a lot of what they say here parallels my own experience with the common IM and social networking tools of the day. Definitely worth a read. I like the final sentence in the clip I pulled below, “Glancephones were originally invented to allow callers to see if it is appropriate to call or interrupt and thus act like normal glances in face-to-face situations.”

Glancephone – an exploration of human expression - Microsoft Research

Richard Harper and Stuart Taylor
15 September 2009

In this paper, we describe the design and ethnographic study of a phone developed so as to allow people to glance at each other, rather than simply message or voice call. Glancephones work through having a form factor that allows them to be placed upright when a user want to be available for glancing, and support a web-based application that allows glances, bitmap images, to be taken and sent to a remote viewer on request, via GPRS connections. Glancephones were originally invented to allow callers to see if it is appropriate to call or interrupt and thus act like normal glances in face-to-face situations.