START Conference Manager    

ASIST 2012 Annual Meeting 
Baltimore, MD, October 26-30, 2012 

Checking In: A Phenomenological Study of Active Users of Geolocational Tagging Services
Carol E. Smith

Monday, 6:30pm


Geosocial check-in services are a relatively new feature of social media, used by a small but growing percenta e of social networking enthusiasts. The purpose of this exploratory phenomenological study is to develop an initial qualitative understanding of the practices, interests, needs, and motivations of active users of mobile geosocial check-in services, and the meaning that they ascribe to the use of geotagging services in their daily life. Through interview analysis and rich description, five key themes emerge. Geosocial check-in services provide users with personal entertainment, social connectivity, and a sense of belonging to a distinct community. Users integrate geotagging into a larger, sophisticated system of social media use and construct rules of engagement for both privacy and security purposes. Geosocial check-in services are found to be more than just a novel feature present in social media applications - users employ them to bind together the internal, social, and virtual dimensions of their modern lives, and to situate these dimensions in relation to the physical world around them.