Locative interfaces and social media

Student name: Haotian Guo

Student ID: 450181436

Tutorial: Tuesday 5pm-8pm (Kai)


Locative interfaces and social media


The technology of the internet has a dramatically leap to change the world from various aspects in this decade. Surfing the internet by phones is a trendy way to live in the modern society and smartphone has already become to an essential element in the daily life. It changed the way of communication in social interactive actives compared with the past. Furthermore, social media could be treated as a great innovation because it has a crucial influence on the development of human society, and the feature of social media boost the connection between cyberspace and the real world. However, currently the word “social media” is not fresh anymore. LBSs (Location Based Services) is a heated topic currently. According to Hjorth & Hinton (2013), the transition process from mobile communication technologies to mobile multimedia technologies is a new revolution. Thus, the social media with LBS is the new tendency. Furthermore, most of the social media applications, currently, provide the LBSs to users in different degrees to make the App more reliable.


Core concept of the LBS


LBS is a normal service in our daily life such as Global Positioning System (GPS), geo-tagging and so forth. According to Hjorth &Hinton (2013), Internet and LBS were created for military use in last century and was spread quickly to the world. However, this high technological service is not only for military use but also for commercial use. For example, Google map can assist users to pinpoint the location and calculate the most efficiency way to arrive the destination by LBS. From the aspect of entertainment, locative-based mobile games were created and developed rapidly (de Souza e Silva, & Hjorth, 2009). For example, Pokemon Go is a locative-based mobile game, which the game can observe the location information of users and show the nearby Pokemon, thus, users will be guided to arrive at the position. This game basically combines the fundamental feature of LBS with the mobile games and it is an impressive attempt that transfer the virtual space to the real space.


Hjorth & Hinton (2013) claimed that the development of LBS has two generation. The first generation is that LBS was always be provided in a specific single-use device, such as the GPS in the vehicles. The second generation is that LBS is becoming more accessible than before in devices as one of many services in the device. Furthermore, the function of the LBS is beyond the identity the location and it was combined with various features to modify user’s life.


The growth of smartphone users


Currently, the most popular essential consumer devices are smartphone. Due to the feature of the smartphone, it provides a tool for users to engage the internet at anytime, anywhere. According to the research that published on the Statista.com (Statistic, 2017), the number of smartphone users is more than 2.3 billion people around the world in 2016. The smartphone already creates a new place for people to have social actives.


Due to the widely use of smartphone, LBS has an enough space to have a deep development. According to Hjorth &Hinton (2013), the private caused the second generation of LBS and make this system that walk into daily life. According to Consitine (2012), there are nearly 250 million users tagging location on a monthly basis, which means 800 location tags per second. Furthermore, due to the development of the application, the LBS has a deep development in different directions. Most of the application on the smartphone will ask users to access the location information when they use it, such as social media platform, mobile games and search engine. Farman (2012) said that the importance of network and locational media cannot be ignored and underestimated. Moreover, Hjorth &Hinton (2013) claimed that place has always played an essential role in mobile media and the role of the location information in the game or social media platforms cannot be only treated as a geographic or physical position, but also reflect the emotional and cultural dimensions


Case study

The fundamental use of location-based service in the social media is that add the address when the user post tweet or something. This way can directly show the position of the publisher to the public. It is easy to share and convey the location information with friends by click a button, which will boost the bonds between them.


From some specific features or Apps, the LBS could be used as a tool to make a choice, such as yep! and google maps. The App would show the store and building where is next to the user if the user plan to find a gas station, restaurant or some stores. Thus, users can check the reviews of these store by other users who had experience in this place. Users can through the LBS to have a social networking interact with their friends.

nearby resturant

Instagram, currently, is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world and this App focuses on “image sharing”. Users could upload photos in this platform and share it with other users. People can choose their position when they post their photos, then, the LBS in Instagram can organize all posts together which has the same location tag. It is a convenience way to find friends who have been here before. Furthermore, according to Hinton &Hjorth (2013), the camera-phone images have been given a new context when it is working in collaboration with social and locative media. Users could use the camera device to take a shot with location tag to convey a physical place to the cyberspace which combines the virtual world and the reality.



In conclusion, the LBS with social media is still a critical topic in some area, even it reduces the distance between friends and assists users that have an efficiency way to access more information. LBS play an essential role during the transformation from the physical place to the internet. It makes the meaning of the place that beyond its literately meaning. However, the issue of privacy is a great challenge for the innovator and users. How to protect the location information of users and avoid leaking this information is the App innovators faced. Wilken (2014) claimed that Facebook will copy the user’s locations in their own database, such problem will keep disquieting consumers.




Constine J (2012) Josh Williams on why Facebook acquired his startup Gowalla to put a ‘Nearby’ lens on 250M geo-posts per month. TechCrunch, 17 December. Available at: http://techcrunch.com/2012/12/17/facebook-nearby-gowalla/ (accessed 23 September 2013).


de Souza e Silva, A., & Hjorth, L. (2009). Playful Urban Spaces: A Historical Approach to Mobile Games. Simulation & Gaming40(5), 602-625. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1046878109333723


Farman, J. (2012;2013;). Mobile interface theory: Embodied space and locative media. New York: Routledge. doi:10.4324/9780203847664


Hjorth, L., & Hinton, S. (2013). Social, Locative and Mobile Media. In Understanding Social Media (pp. 120–135). London: SAGE.


Number of smartphone users worldwide 2014-2020 | Statista. (2017). Statista. Retrieved 27 April 2017, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/330695/number-of-smartphone-users-worldwide/


Wilken, R. (2014). Places Nearby: Facebook as a location-based social media platform. New Media & Society, 16(7), 1087-1103.


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