Digital possessions after a romantic break up

Herron, Daniel and Moncur, Wendy and van den Hoven, Elise; (2016) Digital possessions after a romantic break up. In: NordiCHI '16. Proceedings of the 9th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction . Association for Computing Machinery, SWE. ISBN 9781450347631 (

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With technology becoming more pervasive in everyday life, it is common for individuals to use digital media to support the enactment and maintenance of romantic relationships. Partners in a relationship may create digital possessions frequently. However, after a relationship ends, individuals typically seek to disconnect from their ex-partner. This becomes difficult due to the partners' interwoven digital presence and digital possessions. In this paper, we report on a qualitative study exploring individuals' experiences of relationship break up in a digital context, and discuss their attitudes towards digital possessions from those relationships. Five main themes emerged: digital possessions that sustain relationships, comparing before and after, tainted digital possessions, digital possessions and invasions of privacy, involved and emotional reminiscing. Design opportunities were identified in managing attitudes towards digital possessions, disconnecting and reconnecting, and encouraging awareness of digital possessions.