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Space and Mobility: Locative Social Media

by on October 9, 2012

Mobile social networking has allowed people to become mobile while accessing various social networking sites. But as of recent years, the new communication phenomena of what can be called locative mobile social networks (LMSNs) have allowed interactions to occur using mobile technologies with location awareness. People now have the ability to search up movie times, restaurant locations, maps and directions to their desired target and can also allow people to become aware of the location of others.

An example of locative mobile social networking:!/delliebabyxo/map

The History of Social Networking

All types of networks have common characteristics such as spatial quality, connectivity, users and physical space.

  • Traditional networks, e.g. transportation networks

– Telegraphs

  •  One-on-one voice communication

  • Many-to-many communication (or social networking)

  • Mobile social networking

  • Locative mobile social networking

Top ten location-based mobile social networks:

Where did the idea come from?

Jim Spohrer, 1996

First idea of linking information to places

“Imagine being able to enter an airport and see a virtual red carpet leading right to your gate, …or simple look at the night sky and see the outlines of the constellations” (1999, p. 602).

The rise of the Internet as an informational network.


With the Internet becoming an increasing source of obtaining information, many theories were posed as to what this could mean for our future

Some believe That geographical distance would no longer matter with fears relating to the death of geography and the end of cities ( Benedikt,2000; Robins,2000; Virilio,1997 ; Wertheim, 1999).

Conclelis (2007) points out other popular myths which include:

– A much0 reduced need for mobility, since everything ( shopping, working, socializing) could be potentially done online.

–  The idea that ‘physical networking will be substituted for by virtual networking’ and all social relationships would take place online.

What is the biggest change from traditional networks that has come about from using location-based technologies?

  •  The perception of the ‘annihilation’ of space, due to the ability to ‘instantly’ go from point to point
  • The preference for connecting with distant users, rather than ones near by.
  • The ability to carry mobile technologies equipped with an Internet connection allows people to communicate while moving through physical space. 

    Video – The Mobile Movement: Understanding Smartphone Consumers:


    Check-ins, tags and Location!


    Modern day Social Media now incorporates Locative services, social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram both use it letting people know where you are and where the photo was taken in real time.

    For example I can check into a place on Facebook letting everyone know whom I’m with and the location and write a status that will specify where I am all on my smartphone


    Mobiles give their users an enhanced and risk free sense of ‘being live/being alive’, even though (because) this ‘liveness’ is maintained in an artificially controlled bubble. A form of narcissism is integral to the dynamics of mobile phone”


    – Do you consider people regularly posting pictures up of their whereabouts and location a form of narcissism?



    Many social networking sites are now mostly used on Mobile phones. The most popular application is Skype, which has 590 million users. This network diminishes the space between people by allowing people to call or video call family and friends that live overseas for free


    Smartphone users are able to search and browse nearby stores, restaurants, on Urbanspoon people can rate them, share their opinions and post pictures. This type of app can use the location of mobile phones to connect users and may also provide directions to and from the venue by linking to a GPS service. Examples include Google’s Ogle Earth, Tagzania and use forms of collaborative mapping.


    Planning a night out to go cinemas and a restaurant, you can plan it all on your smartphone. By buying tickets online, finding the closes restaurant and using Google maps to get to your destination.



    In the article ‘Locative Mobile Social Networks: Mapping Communication and location in Urban Spaces’ the topic of surveillance and privacy is discussed, a lot of people add people they don’t know and some people accept the ‘random add’, and people may have up to 1000 friends on Facebook which they cannot all know, so this is where the locative privacy concerns arise, and the need for Facebook to be for people you know in real life and how comfortable you are to let strangers know where you are and who your with.



    –      Is there a situation where people have been caught lying about there location?


    –      Does anyone prefer not to share their location and check-in because privacy is a concern?


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One Comment
  1. Q. Does anyone prefer not to share their location and check-in because privacy is a concern?
    A. From a serious point of view ‘checking in’ can be dangerous when others (people you may not know, or don’t typically want to know your location) are able to access info on where you are at any point in time. But there is also the issue with ‘checking in’ and your employment. Having a sick day and ‘checking in’ means your boss or coworkers can see what you are actually doing. I have also had the experience where checking in large groups of people at someones house has resulted in unwanted guests turning up for the party, that then gets way out of hand. Basically, there is a time and a place to ‘check in’ somewhere but also the need to understand the potentil dangers or pitfalls of those ‘check ins’.

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