Tagging amongst friends: an exploration of social media exchange on mobile devices

Casey, S. (2011) Tagging amongst friends: an exploration of social media exchange on mobile devices. PhD thesis, University of Lincoln, UK.

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Abstract

Mobile social software tools have great potential in transforming the way users communicate
on the move, by augmenting their everyday environment with pertinent information from
their online social networks. A fundamental aspect to the success of these tools is in
developing an understanding of their emergent real-world use and also the aspirations of
users; this thesis focuses on investigating one facet of this: the exchange of social media. To
facilitate this investigation, three mobile social tools have been developed for use on locationaware
smartphone handsets. The first is an exploratory social game, 'Gophers' that utilises
task oriented gameplay, social agents and GSM cell positioning to create an engaging
ecosystem in which users create and exchange geotagged social media. Supplementing this is
a pair of social awareness and tagging services that integrate with a user's existing online
social network; the 'ItchyFeet' service uses GPS positioning to allow the user and their social
network peers to collaboratively build a landscape of socially important geotagged locations,
which are used as indicators of a user's context on their Facebook profile; likewise
'MobiClouds' revisits this concept by exploring the novel concept of Bluetooth 'people
tagging' to facilitate the creation of tags that are more indicative of users' social surroundings.
The thesis reports on findings from formal trials of these technologies, using groups of
volunteer social network users based around the city of Lincoln, UK, where the incorporation
of daily diaries, interviews and automated logging precisely monitored application use.
Through analysis of trial data, a guide for designers of future mobile social tools has been
devised and the factors that typically influence users when creating tags are identified. The
thesis makes a number of further contributions to the area. Firstly, it identifies the natural
desire of users to update their status whilst mobile; a practice recently popularised by
commercial 'check in' services. It also explores the overarching narratives that developed over
time, which formed an integral part of the tagging process and augmented social media with a
higher level meaning. Finally, it reveals how social media is affected by the tag positioning
method selected and also by personal circumstances, such as the proximity of social peers.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:Mobile social software tools have great potential in transforming the way users communicate on the move, by augmenting their everyday environment with pertinent information from their online social networks. A fundamental aspect to the success of these tools is in developing an understanding of their emergent real-world use and also the aspirations of users; this thesis focuses on investigating one facet of this: the exchange of social media. To facilitate this investigation, three mobile social tools have been developed for use on locationaware smartphone handsets. The first is an exploratory social game, 'Gophers' that utilises task oriented gameplay, social agents and GSM cell positioning to create an engaging ecosystem in which users create and exchange geotagged social media. Supplementing this is a pair of social awareness and tagging services that integrate with a user's existing online social network; the 'ItchyFeet' service uses GPS positioning to allow the user and their social network peers to collaboratively build a landscape of socially important geotagged locations, which are used as indicators of a user's context on their Facebook profile; likewise 'MobiClouds' revisits this concept by exploring the novel concept of Bluetooth 'people tagging' to facilitate the creation of tags that are more indicative of users' social surroundings. The thesis reports on findings from formal trials of these technologies, using groups of volunteer social network users based around the city of Lincoln, UK, where the incorporation of daily diaries, interviews and automated logging precisely monitored application use. Through analysis of trial data, a guide for designers of future mobile social tools has been devised and the factors that typically influence users when creating tags are identified. The thesis makes a number of further contributions to the area. Firstly, it identifies the natural desire of users to update their status whilst mobile; a practice recently popularised by commercial 'check in' services. It also explores the overarching narratives that developed over time, which formed an integral part of the tagging process and augmented social media with a higher level meaning. Finally, it reveals how social media is affected by the tag positioning method selected and also by personal circumstances, such as the proximity of social peers.
Keywords:Social media, Mobile devices, Tagging
Subjects:G Mathematical and Computer Sciences > G400 Computer Science
G Mathematical and Computer Sciences > G440 Human-computer Interaction
Divisions:College of Science > School of Computer Science
ID Code:4924
Deposited By: Bev Jones
Deposited On:24 Feb 2012 09:28
Last Modified:13 Mar 2013 09:04

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