Mobile Social Software/Networking
Posts do tiara.org, em três partes, vem resenhando alguns instrumentos de “mobile social networking”, ou “redes sociais móveis”, um dos tipos de projeto com mídias locativas que buscam criar socialização no espaço publico por meio de identificação e localização, em tempo real, de seus “amigos” próximos. O tema é bem interessante e a etnografia do Tiara.org (vejam a íntegra dos posts) pode inspirar vários estudos. Em outros posts definia esses sistemas como:
“Mobile social networking” utilizam as mídias móveis e/ou locativas (tecnlopgias e serviços baseados em localização) para colocar pessoas em contato fazer com que elas possam trocar informações e se comunicarem em mobilidade pelos espaços públicos. Os estudos centram-se tanto nas relações sociais estabelecidas em mobilidade por SMS, MMS, como no artigo, ou em sistemas mais complexos como Imity ou Dodgeball, locativos…”
“Definira provisoriamente ‘Mobile Social Network’ como redes sociais que se estabelecem entre uma ou mais pessoas, por localização, com ou sem cruzamento de perfis, utilizando dispositivos e redes sem fio de comunicação como cell(smart)phones, GPS, redes Wi-Fi, RFID, Bluetooth. Essas redes permitem a identificação e a localização exata do outro no processo de conexão/comunicação. As redes sociais móveis podem se formar usando um sistema específico (como dodgeball, imity ou outro) ou apenas utilizar o próprio dispositivo e sua capacidade de conexão para achar outras pessoas no mesmo raio de acesso… “
Vejam os sistemas resenhados pelo Tiara.org: Notem que alguns sistemas estão sendo chamados de “prescriptive social software“, já que não apenas colocam pessoas em contato, como também induzem a determinados comportamentos e tomadas de ação, com recompensas por pontos, como é o caso do “Foursquare” (ver mais abaixo).
According to their website, ‘Brightkite is a location-based social network. In real time you can see where your friends are and what they’re up to. Depending on your privacy settings you can also meet others nearby.’ The Brightkite interface is really clean, well-designed, and sleek, with great integration with the rest of the iPhone. It’s clear they’ve spent a lot of time on the product, and they claim something like two million users. (Active users or user accounts?)
Like foursquare, Brightkite users ‘check in’ to specific venues, but can also add notes and photos. In practice, Brightkite is a combination of foursquare, Twitter, and the Flickr photostream. Here’s what this looks like on the iPhone app:
“I’m a frequent user of the iPhone app created by foursquare, location-based social software that lets you check in to venues (restaurants, bars, clubs) and broadcast your whereabouts to a network of friends. Foursquare is not the only software out there that does this; similar applications include BrightKite, Google Latitude, Whrrl, and Loopt. What interests me about foursquare is that it’s a terrific example of prescriptive social software: applications that encourage particular social behaviors and provide very clear rewards for behaving in the ‘right’ way. Let’s start with foursquare. When I “checked in” at The Grind, here’s the feedback I got:
Foursquare gives you points depending on when, where, and with who you check in, and keeps a weekly leaderboard of high scorers in each city. In this instance, I get 5 points for checking in at a new venue (…) , and I’m told that Jay A. is the Mayor of The Grind, which means he’s checked in there more times than anyone else in the last 60 days.(…) After a month of using foursquare, I’ve found that it rewards the following:
- Going to new places : you get a 5 point bonus every time you check in somewhere new.
- Going to multiple places in one day/night: 3 point ‘travel bonus’
- Going out after staying home for a few days: ‘First night out in a while’ bonus
- Going out many nights in a row
This is a very urban, American, and youthful model of socialization. If you’re the kind of person who likes to stay home and play board games with your two best friends, or go to the same bar every night, or if you live in the suburbs, or if you’re done with the phase of your life when bars and clubs seemed exciting, you’re not going to find foursquare very useful, and foursquare isn’t going to encourage your type of socializing.
There’s something here worth examining. What assumptions about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ socializing are built into social media? Locative social media is especially interesting because it directly affects how people move through the city. It can be terrifically fun and useful for people who fit its prescribed social model. Here in San Francisco, where I’m doing ethnographic work on social media users, foursquare has positively affected my social life. For example, on Monday night, I went to dinner with a friend. After dinner, I saw that two of my closest friends were at a local bar. We met them there, and over the course of the next four hours, about 10 other people showed up, all of whom found us through foursquare. Whether or not it’s wise to have a party in a bar on Monday night is arguable, but it was really fun. (…)
Foursquare also contributes to ambient awareness. Like Twitter, you feel part of a group of people, but whereas you can follow anyone on Twitter, foursquare restricts the displayed information to people in your city, and friendships are bidirectional – nobody can friend you if you don’t friend them. People tend to be fairly picky about their foursquare friends, precisely because of the type of specific locative information that it provides. This creates a social map of the city – my friend Jane is at work, John is at the park, Josh is climbing, Jen is having brunch – which can be comforting and helps to provide a sense of social context.(…)”
“Loopt is a website and mobile app that, in the words of their website, ‘transforms your phone into a mobile compass. Connect with friends and get alerted when they are nearby. Share your location, photos and comments with friends and social networks. Explore places and events recommended by friends and Yelp.’ Loopt is a lot like Google Latitude: rather than voluntarily checking in to a particular venue, and broadcasting that information to a social network (the foursquare/Brightkite model), Loopt automatically tracks your location and shows that to your friends. But while Google Latitude is building a platform, Loopt is a standalone application.
My experience signing up for Loopt immediately made me uncomfortable. When you add someone on Loopt, it sends them a text message, which is much more intrusive than an easily ignorable email (the reason for this is that you don’t provide Loopt your email address right away; more on this in a bit). (…)
There are fairly intense implications of always knowing precisely where your friends are, which is not information I would always want to have. This is particularly true when you’re talking about someone you’re dating. You wouldn’t necessarily ask your girlfriend where she is all the time, but once that information becomes available, there’s a temptation to use it. Of course, you can turn off Loopt (or Google Latitude) whenever you want, but if you usually use it, turning it off implies that you have something to hide.
Loopt also has an intriguing feature called ‘Loopt Mix’ which connects you with people you don’t know in your neighborhood. To use it, you provide Loopt with an email address. The email address you provide will be used by random Loopt Mixers to send you messages, so Loopt says, ‘Make sure to remove any contact info that may have been added in your email signature!’ This is an annoying user experience which signals something about possible privacy/safety violations.
So what does Loopt value?
- Persistent knowledge of location of friends (always-on location tracking)
- Persistent self-disclosure of location
- Meeting people based on location (for whatever, although in practice seems to be for sex)
The overwhelming value here is that location is a useful piece of personal information that should be revealed. I suppose this an obvious feature of locative social media, but whereas Brightkite and foursquare voluntarily ask for this information, and tie it to a specific location, Loopt’s ideal seems to be seamless location tracking. While this is certainly valuable, as with Brightkite, it’s not necessary actionable. The automatic nature of the app means that you never know whether someone wants to be ‘found’ or not. Generally, while Loopt doesn’t prescribe social behavior, it seems likely to give rise to all sorts of etiquette / social problems if widely used. The potentially negative social implications of the technology seem to outweigh the (non-obvious) advantages of using it.”