Short before this year draws to a close I was invited to present my research on intranet software as part of a workshop on ‘scopic media’ held in Constance. The research group, led by Karin Knorr Cetina, is part of the DFG-funded program “Mediatized Worlds” which involves different people and institutions exploring the increasing mediatisation in contemporary societies. Studies include research on everyday communicating practices and their networking capabilities as well as the making of political positions in parliamentary offices transpiring through digital media. But also so-called “de-mediatisation” strategies already occurring in the business sector are investigated. More information on the overall framework and current projects can be found here.
In my presentation I concentrated on the practice of searching for a colleague on the intranet in which the corporate directory plays a siginificant part. As I illustrated, the directory enhances the physical reality of my informants by making available information they require in order to understand requests send via the internal company network. In doing so, the directory works as a classification system sustaining everyday work processes. The workshop offered insights into the work and concepts of the research group, but also stimulated my own analysis; it encouraged to look at the intranet as a partial scopic medium.