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Geosocial services… August 25, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

I found this fascinating, a piece on The Atlantic about how some – particularly in more, ahem, youthful cohorts, use location sharing (or geosocial services) to track where their friends are.

It’s an interesting dynamic – temporary sharing is a great idea. At a gig, or festival, very handy. More extended sharing, well it’s not for me. I don’t much care where people are. It’s kind of their business.

Good luck to those who think otherwise, none of this is compulsory though the piece does note that in groups with controlling dominant members it could be used in a pernicious fashion.

The following makes sense too:

The most commonly cited benefit that I heard was the sense of safety that comes from having someone always know where you are (notable especially given the fact that the number of single-person households in the United States has been steadily rising since 1960, according to the Census Bureau). Several people told me they regularly checked Find My Friends or a similar app after leaving a party or a bar, to make sure their friends got home safely. Ko told me about an incident at a party her freshman year of college: “There was a guy who was being really creepy toward me; he was very insistent on me coming to his house. I shared my location with my friends, and they came and got me.”

And there’s another aspect which is the ability to allow children more autonomy while having a sense of their location. Indeed this is an issue which has begun to loom large in regard to the creature who is now at an age where that increasing autonomy is being exercised. I’m pretty relaxed about that, indeed thinking back to Kilbarrack and Raheny in the 1970s the amount of freedom of movement to range far and wide from age 8 or 9 onwards was near incredible, but no harm to have at least a sense of where said creature is – so going to investigate that.

That said this is all big data. None of this is done out of the goodness of peoples hearts.


1. Lamentreat - August 25, 2019

To me permanent location sharing in any context seems bizarre, alien, sinister. But this author blithely writes, summing up: “Regardless of the myriad ways it can be used, location-sharing is, at its core, a gesture of trust and intimacy.” I find it hard to imagine my way into the mind of someone thinking like that. But I don’t know if it is a generational thing, or the deep paranoia of the US middle class, of whatever generation.


WorldbyStorm - August 25, 2019

Agreed, to me it is very alien too. I don’t want people knowing precisely where I am most of the time. It’s just not their business. There’s something almost dystopian about it.


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