In text communication service, mobile instant messenger (MIM) has now moved beyond email, SMS and more. With the popularization of smartphones, MIMs which feature no-cost and convenience such as Kakaotalk, Line, and WhatsApp have grown tremendously. Nowadays, numerous people are interacting with MIM, and the range is being used not only for everyday conversations, but also for business communication. As the use of MIM expands, people getting stress from MIM is increasing. In South Korea, the penetration rate of smartphones is over 91%. MIM is used pervasively even in public societies such as schools and companies, and MIM stress has become a serious social problem. We are currently working on a study to understand the phenomenon and cause of MIM stress.
Nowadays, mobile instant messaging (MIM) is a necessity for our private and public lives, but it has also been the cause of stress. In South Korea, MIM stress has become a serious social problem. To understand this stress, we conducted four focus groups with 20 participants under MIM stress. We initially discovered that MIM stress relates to how people perceive the territory in MIM. We then applied proxemics-the theory of human use of space-to the thematic analysis as the rationale. The data revealed two main themes: too close and too crowded. The participants were stressed due to design features that let strangers or crowds into their MIM applications and forced them to interact and share their status with them. Based on this finding, we propose a set of implications for designing anti-stress MIM applications.