Motivations and LBS

I really enjoyed reading the article by Jiang and Yao. It was incredibly informative and set up a great framework for me to use when thinking about LBS in the future. The authors mention that “[c]lustering the users in terms of interests, behaviors and personal profiles is an important step towards a better understanding of the users” (715) and discusses grouping users based on the amount of information they desire. I think it would have been insightful to also note the different motivations behind locational-sharing.

A recent New York Times article claims that LBS, despite enthusiasm from investors, have yet to become very popular among users. I think being responsive to users’ motivations for location sharing will be important for LBS gaining more popularity. For instance, an app designed for individuals to share their locations on social networks should understand that one of the reasons people do so is for reputation management. People will share locations that present them in a positive light (e.g. popular restaurants) and keep other locations (e.g. casino) secret. Since individuals are selective about which locations they want their friends to see, this group will not be receptive of an LBS that constant tracks their movements. With regards to the temporal resolution of data, individuals may not want to share details about the duration of their stay at any one location. Other motivations for locational sharing could be fun/gaming and earning “badges” and to discover new places in town (e.g. Yelp).  Further, Lindqvist et al. (2011) “did not find that discounts and special offers [to be] a strong motivator for checking in” for users on Foursquare (a social location-sharing service). However, the authors note that if more business used the service, this could change.

Thus, motivations among naïve users may be useful for developing LBS that are more specialized and responsive to specific needs. These considerations will in turn shed useful insights on the types of privacy settings that will be most appropriate.


Lindqvist et al. (2011). I’m the Mayor of My House: Examining Why People Use foursquare – a Social-Driven Location Sharing Application.

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