Mobile, Locative & Urban Media Ecologies: From utility to play (and back again)

If the world has become a global village with the advent of the internet, our lives have in turn become posters stuck on lampposts at the village square. Location based tagging, as with pictures uploaded to Instagram, is very selective and carefully curated. People paint pictures of their lives using these tags, which often is quite far from the truth.

Location based tagging also allows for people to connect with people (maybe even someone they know) who have visited a place before, and view their recommendations before deciding to enter it or continue walking down the road. This has been possible for a while, with websites like TripAdvisor, around. However, in the past, one would be required to read reviews and plan itineraries for the day, before venturing out.

These locations based services leave a social footprint of oneself, the kind of places he/she goes to, what do they do etc. This is made possible due to responsive technologies that work on any device. Now one can experience the place first hand without even visiting just through the social image of that place that is updated every day due to people using these locations based services (e Silva & Fritch, 2014).

WeChat allowed people to make friends just by shaking their phones. This feature was recently released where if two people shook their phones together they would be matched and could be friends with each other. Due to this feature there was in increase from 15 million subscribers to 50 million subscribers. This shows us how people now a day send, receive, and use information (Zhang, 2017).

At any given point of time we are all using several apps and allowing them to access our locations. By studying these patterns, companies make their marketing moves accordingly. We feel that we are just using these services but to a large extent we are leaving behind digital footprints which these companies feed on as flesh and market their products to us.


De Souza e Silva, A. & Frith, J. (2014) ‘Re-Narrating the City Through the Presentation of Location’, [Ch3] in The Mobile Story, pp. 34–50

Zhang, Y., 2017. The impact of location-based social networking mobile app to people’s life.