On Toch et al. (2010) and location-sharing

This article was super interesting, as I didn’t know too much about the actual mechanics behind location sharing (ie. “Creating systems that enable users to control their privacy
in location sharing is challenging” (p. 129)). Their ideas of identifying privacy preferences based on the locations that people go to was confusing (and was not really ameliorated by the end). Perhaps it’s because I don’t understand Loccacino, particularly because of technology constraints from 7 years ago (did they or could they collect data then? All the time, or just when you wanted to share your location like “At the mall”?), underlined by the wonderful image of the “smartphone” (p. 131). Like some of my classmates noted, this seemed very similar to Find My Friends, and perhaps that’s why I didn’t understand how this worked, what the line was between actively volunteering and passively volunteering location.
Further, I had some issues with the participant pool that they used. The researchers relied on a set that was 22/28 male and 25/28 student and then were surprised that “the study revealed distinct differences between the participants, even though the population was homogenous”. As evident from spatiotemporal GIS & feminist GIS, women interact with spaces differently than men. Further, age of participants, as another classmate noted, is crucial: a 50-year-old staff member or student will go different places than a 22-year-old student. Not to mention, analysis of age could determine why there was a big difference in sharing (or if there was not a difference). Also, I was interested in seeing the differences between people between mediums, as some people used phones and some used laptops, and phones are way easier to pull out and share info on than laptops, especially in social gatherings or public spaces. They acknowledged this difference as being 9 mobile & 5 laptop users being “highly visible” (p. 135), but I would be more interested in seeing the differences between the two mediums first and seeing activity levels as a whole for the two mediums, rather than continuing to equate the two, especially since laptops and phones were not distributed equally among participants. I think this study would be interesting to redo today, but with more information about participants and more controls throughout the study (or at least, fixing for differences among participants and modes of participation).

Comments are closed.