Date of Award

Spring 5-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

D'Lane Compton, PhD

Second Advisor

Pamela Jenkins, PhD

Third Advisor

Vern Baxter, PhD


The Smartphone is a technological innovation that has transformed for the better how billions of people live by enabling them to transcend time and space to remain socially connected to potentially millions of others despite being thousands of miles apart. Although smartphones help people connect from a distance, there has been much concern about how they affect face-to-face interactions. This study explored, drawing on Goffmanian concepts, how and why smartphones affect face-to-face encounters. The findings show there are three types of smartphone cross-talk: exclusive, semi-exclusive, and collaborative. With the addition of smartphone play and solo smartphone activity, interactants can engage in five different types of smartphone use during a social encounter. Smartphones can both disrupt and facilitate face-to-face encounters at any given time. A theory of cross-talk was created as an extension of Goffman’s work to help explain the phenomenon.


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.