Mizuko Ito has published a position paper (PDF) on her recent research on the “intimate visual co-presence” created by couples who use their mobile phones and/or photo-sharing websites to exchange photos on a continuous basis.:
The experience of these two sets of couples points to the compelling nature of intimate visual co-presence as it is supported by photo sharing on a mobile phone. The current convergence of different kinds of photo sharing services and camera phones seems to indicate that this kind of social experience will likely become more accessible to users in settings with widespread camphones and mobile Internet access. Just as text messaging created new kinds of modalities for co-presence and communication, we can expect that pervasive photo sharing will lead to a new set of social practices that differ from what we have seen in the PC Internet space and the mobile texting space. I suggest that intimate visual co-presence may be one of these new social modalities.