As paper-based communication is being supplanted by digital channels like E-mail, Facebook, and Flickr, so is handwritten and sketch-based expression. We posit that digital pen-and-paper technologies can bring the unique affordances of paper-based communication to social media, providing new channels of expression to those who favor handwriting and sketching. We present UbiSketch, a ubiquitous real-time sketch-based communication tool that supports social communication using natural paper-based interaction. UbiSketch allows people to create drawings, doodles, and text notes with digital pens and paper, and publish them via their mobile phones to online social networks or e-mail. In a 4-week user study, this novel modality successfully brought sketching into the public realm, exhibiting characteristics of digital social media such as rapid authoring and dissemination, while retaining sketching's unique qualities of visual communication. Friend responses to sketches were more numerous and more personal in nature than those to text and photo postings.
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