Tuition time: Tuesday 17:00-20:00
Location-based services and Mobile media
There are increasing number of people getting access to mobile technologies such as smartphones worldwide, which stimulates the development of mobile internet. Recently, the evolution of smartphones shows a transition from ‘mobile communication technology to mobile multimedia technology’ (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013). With the requirement of new mobile technologies, location-based services (LBSs) have been promoted. LBSs can provide an accuracy of within 100 metres position for users (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013) to understand ‘where I am’. It normally merges diverse features in smartphones including GPS and camera phones (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013). Facebook, as mobile social media platform, plays a significant role in the development of LBSs. I will analysis Hinton & Hjorth’s (2013) research about the development of LBSs that are converged with mobile media by using Facebook as a case study.
As a result of the development of smartphone, end-user location can be developed with greater accuracy with the help of Wi-Fi networks and 3G or 4G networks (Wilken, 2014). To accruing location information on smartphones, companies and researchers apply various techniques including “place ontologies” : “ways of categorizing the world” by analyzing a variety of geocoded location database (Barreneche, 2012). These databases can be collected from diverse spatial information of different types. For instance, Facebook uses Points of Interest (POIs) which point out each user interested feature on related locations (Wilken, 2014). Taking this advantage, companies can design cost effective, reliable, and high-quality campaign to promote their brands or products (Rao & Minakakis, 2003).
With the development of smartphones, mobile media shares a closer relationship with social and locative technologies. The emerging new practices of mobile media particularly focus on developing social communications and connections (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013). As a result of this, mobile media not only broadens the range of location, but also brings new meaning to these places through LBSs (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013). Taking Facebook as an example, it launched its mobile-only service, Facebook Places in 2010. It allows people to share check-in about their location, behavior, and time schedules. Users can tell their friends about a wonderful restaurant or a amazing place for picnic (Beaumont, 2010). In addition, Facebook added its Places to Graph API (application programming interface) to give developers limited access to user’s and their friend’s check-ins (Cutler, 2010). There are three parts to the API: developers can see friend’s location and activities, third-party developers can connect their friends through Places, and give third-party apps limited rights search Places (Cutler, 2010). Facebook then promoted Nearby, which provides information of local businesses based on user’s database including position that friends like, check in, or write comments on the local company page . Users can find information through different categories such as Restaurant, Hotel or Shopping. This technology provides a ‘relevancy-sorted list of businesses and landmarks’ that will interest users according to Facebook’s database about ‘friends who’ve Liked a business, checked in, left a short text recommendation, or given the Place a star rating’ (Constine, 2012).
In addition, mobile media accelerates the shift in people’s relationship online and offline, which stimulates new forms of engagement. As a result of this, the gap between online and offline, virtual and reality, here and there, are minishing and disappearing (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013). Facebook, for example, launched Nearby Friends allowing users to see approximately how far away they are from their friends, and can let them to share their real-time location in a limited time (Constine, 2014). This technology encourages people to spend more time with their friends offline instead of only communicating with each other through smartphones.
Our campaign and personal learning:
During this semester, our group conducted a campaign called ‘The Con’ for the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. We applied Facebook as our main platform to promote our activities and to engage the target audience. Facebook is the most popular one among several mobile social media platforms providing LBSs (Zikuhr, 2013). Our campaign can be promoted by the target audience through Places on Facebook as long as the audiences post related activities or concerts on Facebook tagging the Con. Furthermore, Sydney Conservatorium of Music ideally situated at the centre of Sydney’s CBD and arts precinct, and minutes from the Sydney Opera House. There are greater opportunities for the Con to be found through Nearby on Facebook because of the central location of the Con and significant population in CBD.
According to Kathryn Zickuhr’s (2013) report, the number of smartphone users under 50 years old who use LBSs is significantly more than the number of smartphone users over 50 years old. In addition, students and college graduates are more likely to use LBSs than adults who only completed high school. As a result of this, we determined our target audience are students from Sydney uni and workers under 50 years old.
However, when we analyzing the target audience, we found that great number of our audience are not aware of where Sydney Conservatorium of Music is, some of them even consider it located on campus. Thus, we decided to tagging places when we use these platforms. On one hand, making advantage of Places on Facebook can help them find the proper location of our activities and the concerts. One the other hand, tagging locations when we post advertising articles, photos, or posters is a method to engaging with the target audience. For example, we planed to send free concert tickets to the target audience, but one person can get only one ticket. People can invite their friends to the concert through Nearby Friends on Facebook, and as a result of this, we can gain more attention and engagement.
In the future, I will use the databases from LBSs to analysis the consumer habit of our target audience. We can find the information needs, product and service choices of the audience through LBSs. For example, it can provide information about which platform is more popular, when they use them, and where is the target audience’s favorite places. Thus, we can hold activities near those places and upload new posts at a more appropriate time.
What the most interesting aspect during this semester I think is the discussion on class about the “ place ontologies” ( Wilken, 2014). Some students talked about the privacy issue of LBSs. Indeed, the development of mobile technologies has both positive and negative impacts in terms of privacy issues in LBSs (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013). For example, LBSs can help parents find their lost children or provide updated information for the police about the suspects. On the other hand, it can result in the leakages of personal information to the third party. The privacy issue in LBSs is undoubtedly becoming a significant problem that needs more attention in the future. Apart from this, the improvement in accuracy of location will contribute to the development of LBSs on mobile media (Phan, 2017). LBSs plays a significant role in marketing and brand promotion. However, it is difficult for developers or the third parties to know what the users are doing or what they want in that location in real time (Rao & Minakakis, 2003). To solve this problem, the LBSs may get closer connections other service offerings in the future. For example, LBSs can corporate with retailers like Amazon.com to get consumer’s information about their profiles, history, needs, and preferences. By classifying information including location type, target audience needs, personal preferences, and active time, LBSs can be competitive for marketing, advertising or brand promotion process (Rao & Minakakis, 2003).
In conclusion, according to Hinton & Hjorth (2013), the development of mobile devices and LBSs has several advantages. It accelerates the transformation in people’s relationship online and offline, which stimulates new forms of engagement. In addition, mobile media not only broadens the range of location, but also brings new meaning to these places through LBSs. The future of LBSs I think will focused more on the target audience themselves, including their profiles, needs and preferences. This may stimulate the corporation between LBSs and a variety of other services.
Beaumont, C.(2010). Facebook Places: What it is and how it works [Format description]. Retrieved from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/facebook/7953676/Facebook-Places-What-it-is-and-how-it-works.html
Barreneche, C. (2012). The order of places: Code, ontology and visibility in locative media. Computational Culture, 2, 26.
Cutler, M. (2010). Facebook Taking the Platform Approach to Location With Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp, Booyah [Format description]. Retrieved from: http://www.adweek.com/digital/facebook-taking-the-platform-approach-to-location-with-foursquare-gowalla/
Constine, J. (2012). Hands On With Facebook Nearby, A New Local Biz Discovery Feature That Challenges Yelp And Foursquare [Format description]. Retrieved from: https://techcrunch.com/2012/12/17/facebook-nearby/
Constine, J. (2014). Facebook Launches “Nearby Friends” With Opt-In Real-Time Location Sharing To Help You Meet Up [Format description]. Retrieved from: https://techcrunch.com/2014/04/17/facebook-nearby-friends/
Elizabeth, D. (2013). LOCATION-BASED MARKETING ON FACEBOOK: CONNECTING WITH CONSUMERS THROUGH A MORE TARGETED STRATEGY. Retrieved from: http://www.icrossing.com/sites/default/files/insight_pdf_files/Location-Based-Marketing-on-Facebook-iCrossing.pdf
Hinton, S., & Hjorth, L. (2013). Understanding social media. Sage.
Phan, T. (2017). Location Services 2017: Top 7 Predictions [Format description]. Retrieved from: https://bluedotinnovation.com/location-services-2017-top-predictions.html
Rao, B., & Minakakis, L. (2003). Evolution of mobile location-based services. Communications of the ACM, 46(12), 61-65.
Wilken, R. (2014). Places nearby: Facebook as a location-based social media platform. new media & society, 16(7), 1087-1103.
Zickuhr, K. (2013). Main Report [Format description]. Retrieved from: http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/09/12/location-based-services-2/