It is 2pm, Friday afternoon and the sun is blazing down on a packed crowd at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Australia is about to take on India as an intense atmosphere envelops the stadium. A 20-something-year-old blonde-haired cricket fan sitting amongst his friends reaches for his iPhone and brings up the facebook application. It is time to let everyone know where he is. It is time to check in.
But who is paying attention? Who really benefits from this information?
Bilandzic and Foth identify locative media as a major contributor to the increasingly complex nature of personal relationships. The transition has become seamless between “being physically present at a particular place and being digitally connected at all times” (2011 p66)
It is this constant connection between a networked society that makes the simple and very popular check-in function an interesting catalyst for potential consequences.
As the now checked-in cricket fan sits back in the stands and admires the quality of competition in front of him, the network screams out his whereabouts.
Now it is time for his network of ‘friends’ to respond.
His grouchy boss from the supermarket, trying to cover a shift that was left by his “sick” employee, discovers that a man too sick to work is never too sick to attend the cricket! It could happen. Just ask this guy.
His brother’s best friend’s auntie’s next door neighbour, who he met on one occasion five years ago and has since acquired a handy criminal record, notices that his distant ‘friend’ is not at home and organises a visit. Because as he knows well, the best time to break and enter is when the occupant is absent. This also happens.
Sure, these examples skew to a negative portrayal of locative media, but it can’t all be bad news. There has to be something really beneficial to outweigh the possibility of getting fired or robbed.
Well, in the outer suburb of Sydney, a hung-over exchange student from Canada wakes up in his hostel. He is in a foreign environment and just wants to be with his new friends. His international phone is no longer working, leaving the computer as his only option. He logs on in a desperate attempt to leave some kind of message and then BAM! He sees what he wants. “Mitch checked in at the SCG.” He now knows where he has to go.
Bilandzic M & Foth M 2011. ‘A review of locative media, mobile and embodied spatial interaction.’ Published by Elsevier
Image 1 – http://static6.businessinsider.com/image/4c6d4b967f8b9ab462b80800/facebook-places.jpg
Image 2 – http://www.diggingthedirt.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/alg_resize_angry-boss.jpg
Image 3 – http://www.onlinejokeshop.co.uk/images/shop/product_images/48825/38632.jpg
Image 4 – http://rlv.zcache.com/super_happy_fun_time_tshirt-p235546727311798109z7y9x_400.jpg