Past President’s Column: Device Management and Intelligence (DMI)

Joanne Broder Sumerson

Joanne Broder Sumerson

Joanne Broder Sumerson, PhD

No words can express my gratitude for the amazing presidential year. I am proud of what was accomplished which would have been impossible without the talented Executive Board, special interest committees, and fantastic membership. We are off to a great start this year thanks to the leadership of the current President, June Wilson. One of the highlights of my presidency was the ability to take a passionate idea and create an opportunity to help people with managing their technology devices intelligently.

My main source of DMI inspiration was my twin sons who were born one week after the launch of the first iPhone in 2007. Other brands of smart phones were quickly released, and it seemed like devices, mostly smartphones, became a part of the human palm with gazes turned downward while socializing, parenting, learning, attending events, eating meals, and driving. As I sought to figure out my media values and identity as a new parent, I knew I wanted my babies to see my eyes and smile more than the top of my head.

This was also four years before the launch of Psychology of Popular Media Culture, APA’s journal that receives numerous high quality submissions of rigorous empirical studies on how technology and its various uses impact human behavior. In the last year, examples of topics published were texting and academic functioning in adolescents (Linster-Landman, Domoff, & Dubow, 2017) and online conformity with social media use (Neubaum, Rosner, Ganster, Hambach, & Kramer, 2018). We are learning from the data and hope that people will create more balance in their lives and exercise more caution before posting anything online, whether it is an original social media post or commenting on another contact’s post.  The DMI Committee (Don Grant, Sarah Domoff, and Paula Durlofsky) is working to create best practice guidelines for the public and practitioners for technology use and social media presence.

Personal social media pages are being examined and considered for college admissions, professional opportunities, and social memberships. Regardless if they are the initiators or the targets, each will need to heal and move on from embarrassment. What about people whose names were dropped from the list because of a lack of device intelligence, for instance, the therapist who was overlooked for a clinical position in a school district because of the excessive promiscuous photos or the young man who was not admitted into his first choice college since he enjoyed bragging about underage partying.  Although their online behavior was a clear deal breaker for their potential opportunities, each had to learn from his or her mistakes, heal, and create a solid action plan on how to move on.

How are the members of the Society for Media Psychology and Technology supporting these people? How are we helping them in clinical settings? How is our research helping them? How are they moving on from their experiences?  People of all ages need us.  I look forward to sharing what I am doing.  Please feel free to contact me if you want to talk more about DMI.


Lister-Landman, K. M., Domoff, S. E., & Dubow, E. (2017). The role of compulsive texting in adolescents’ academic functioning.   Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 6(4), 311-325.

Neubaum, G., Rosner, L., Ganster, T., Hambach, K., & Kramer, N. C. (2018). United in the name of justice: How conformity processes in social media may influence online vigilantism. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 7(2), 185-199.

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