07th Nov2011

A Whole New Meaning to “Where you at?”

by sam

(Disclamer #2: This post does not have to do with television at all, but it is really interesting anyway)

Mobile and Locative Media has recently become one of my favorite topics because it is always changing and being updated constantly.  When cell phones first started out you think about meeting up with someone and then take out your phone and call them to see where they were and if they wanted to hang out, now  the phone is capable of doing it all.  Although a lot of people say that cell phones are hurting our social interactions with people, Lee Humphreys makes a great argument against them in, Mobile social networks and urban public space.  He explains how many applications on phones are making it easier to meet up with friends and are actually encouraging social interaction by using examples like Dodgeball.

Dodgeball was a service that let people alert their friends of their location at a specific time.  It was the early version of the modern day Foursquare, which incidentally was created by one of the co-founders of Dodgeball.  Humphrey’s did a study on Dodgeball and found that many people would change the direction they were walking because they got a notification that a friend of their’s was only a block or two in the other direction.  People liked it because it took away the step of having to call people to see what they were up to and then deciding on a place to meet.  You knew the person was already near by and they purposely checked in to notify everyone of where they were so that anyone could come join them.  It helped them meet up with people who they might have otherwise not known were around and free.  Someone also said that they use it to avoid interactions with someone such as an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend because through Dodgeball they saw where they were and made sure not to go there as well.  I hadn’t thought of it that way but it certainly is a useful part of the application.  I know I always check Facebook events guest lists before responding to them just in case someone I have an issue with (and list of people I have a problem with is very short, 2 at the most) is attending.  I know to avoid them so that I can go out and have a good time without risking confrontation.

Another program that Humphrey’s talks about is Google Latitude which uses Google Maps to show a map of all of your Latitude using friends’  locations.  I think that this is a useful service but I think it would be more useful within the confines of Foursquare because Foursquare lets you check-in with friends, get special deals, and leave reviews of places.  The two together would be a powerhouse application.  I would love to see where my friends were on a map, check out the reviews and specials going on where they were, and then possibly have the application give me directions to get there.  A girl can dream can’t she?