Quinnipiac Social Media Class

Quinnipiac Assignment 11 – ICM501 – Mobile & Locative Media

Mobile & Locative Media

Locative Media. Just as online communities are giving us digital posses and homes away from home, locative and mobile media are providing us with a means of joining a group in person at any time.

There’s A Party Somewhere

With locative media, there is always something going on.

For persons traveling to an unfamiliar section of their city, locative media can give them a sense of where to go. Let’s say a person living in the Allston section of Boston takes the wrong Green Line trolley outbound from Park Street. Instead of the B, which would take them along Commonwealth Avenue to home, they get on the E, which goes down Huntington Avenue. Instead of despairing at being lost, or turning around, or getting a bus or cab (or the correct trolley) back home, what if the unintentional explorer looks on FourSquare (or if this scenario took place before 2013, Google Latitude, the successor to Dodgeball)?

Familiar in the Unfamiliar

With locational technology, the traveler finds friends, or recommendations, or even just a bit of tracking thrown out there by people they’re connected to. If the traveler can find his or her friends, the unfamiliar space might become parochialized. As Humphreys, L. (2010). Mobile social networks and urban public spaceNew Media & Society, 12(5), 763-778. [Library Link | PDF] wrote, “Parochial spaces are territories characterized by ‘a sense of commonality among acquaintances and neighbors who are involved in interpersonal networks that are located within communities’ (Lofland, 1998: 10). Neighborhoods are examples of parochial spaces.” (Page 768)

Quinnipiac Assignment 11 – ICM501 – Mobile & Locative Media
English: A smartphone app called MagicPlan uses augmented reality to capture building topology. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The act of parochialization lends familiarity and commonality to a public space. Humphreys further stated, “Mobile social networks can help to turn public realms into parochial realms through parochialization. Parochialization can be defined as the process of creating, sharing and exchanging information, social and locational, to contribute to a sense of commonality among a group of people in public space. Sharing information through mobile social networks can help to contribute to a sense of familiarity among users in urban public spaces.” (Page 768, Ibid.)


Humphreys refers to a use of Dodgeball as a means of pre-planning parochialization, and wrote,“People also used Dodgeball to parochialize the public space when traveling with a group of people. For example, several New York participants mentioned using Dodgeball at South by Southwest, an annual music/film/hi-tech festival in Austin, Texas. A large group of colleagues and friends were at the festival and used Dodgeball to ensure meeting up with familiar people in an unfamiliar city.” (Page 773, Ibid.)

However, even a semi-serendipitous finding of like-minded individuals could happen. For our hypothetic traveler, a stroll down Huntington Avenue reveals Northeastern University and the Museum of Fine Arts. Nearby is the Isabella Stewart Gardiner Museum. With FourSquare checkins, the traveler knows that her friends are at the Gardiner, and she can choose to join them, or contact them and suggest a change of venue to the MFA, or avoid them by entering the campus of Northeastern.

Is the RSVP dead?

Even planned meetings have changed.

As Rheingold, H. (2002). Shibuya epiphany. In Smart mobs: The next social revolution (pp. 1–28). New York: Basic Books. [Posted to “Course Materials” on Blackboard] wrote,  “‘Kids have become loose about time and place. If you have a phone, you can be late,’ added Kawamura. Kamide, the other graduate student, agreed that it is no longer taboo to show up late: ‘Today’s taboo,’ Kamide conjectured, is ‘to forget your keitai [cell phone] or let your battery die.” I later discovered that this ‘softening of time’ was noted for the same age group in Norway. ‘The opportunity to make decisions on the spot has made young people reluctant to divide their lives into time slots, as older generations are used to doing,’ agreed another Norwegian researcher.” (Page 5)

All of this is small comfort to someone planning (and paying for) a major event like a wedding or a Bat Mitzvah. Kids may have become looser about time and place, but caterers have not.


Constantly knowing where everyone is at all times can take away the fun of accidental meetings. It can make them nigh well impossible. Continually seeking preexisting friends when in unfamiliar places can keep people from extending their hands and introducing themselves to new people. With augmented reality, the locatability isn’t even necessarily voluntary anymore.

As Lamantia, J. (2009, August 17). Inside out: Interaction design for augmented reality.UX Matters. [Link] wrote, “With tools like augmented ID on the way, what happens if your environmentally aware AR device, service, or application recognizes me and broadcasts my identity locally—or globally—when I want to remain incognito? At least until the advent of effective privacy management solutions—including hardware, software, standards, and legal frameworks—AR experiences that identify people by face, marker, or RFID tag could severely challenge our ability to do ordinary things like get lost in a crowd, sit quietly at the back of a room, or attend a surprise party for a friend.”

Even more chilling, what happens when victims are trying to escape abusers or stalkers? seems, at times, akin to the microchipping of pets. We don’t want our dogs and cats to wander too far, because we fear they’ll get lost or will be injured or even stolen. But humans are (ostensibly) smarter than all that. Shouldn’t we have the freedom to, if we want to, just go out without having a tracer put on us?

Quinnipiac Social Media Class Twitter

Quinnipiac Assignment 07 – ICM501 – The Ubiquity of Data: Ambient Awareness and Information Overload

The Ubiquity of Data: Ambient Awareness and Information Overload

Ambient Awareness. We live in a world of TMI. At the same time that we use avatars and user IDs, we are also putting out tons of information, every single day. As we continue to embrace distributed cognition (the push of thought from internal to external, from personal to shared, as we rely on our networks more and more), interfaces originally meant for one person using it at a time are turning into shared information and interfaces. We collaborate a lot more than we ever have. Certainly, it helps to have, well, help. But we are bombarded with messages these days. And a lot of them are created and spread by us. We are the architects of our own confusion and distraction.

It’s Everywhere

Go to the gas station – swipe your card. Say cheese when the security camera snaps your picture while you pump gas and buy snacks and smokes. Don’t forget to check in at FourSquare. You’ve got to oust the Mayor of the Cumberland Farms on Chestnut Hill Avenue! Drive away, through a toll booth with your transponder, and your license plate will be photographed, too.

Share enough of this information, and your friends will scold you for buying pork rinds and Marlboros. Maybe one of these days, your insurance company will scold you, too. Or maybe they’ll just quietly reassess your risks, get a new actuarial quote, and raise your rates by 1% – and they won’t necessarily tell you they’re doing this, either. Check into enough places, and your route can be mapped. If you’re cheating on your spouse, you’d better not drive your car through a toll booth when you go to visit your paramour.

Is it Really so Bad?

Or maybe it’s all less sinister than that. Maybe your friends contact you because they care – because they see you buying snacks and smokes far too much, and worry that you’ve become depressed. Maybe your doctor sees this activity and contacts you to set up an appointment to check your blood pressure and your cholesterol.

But whatever the motivation is, and whatever the source, one thing is clear: we know all this stuff about each other now. As Thompson, C. (2008, September 5). Brave new world of digital intimacyNew York Times Magazine. [Link] says, “Social scientists have a name for this sort of incessant online contact. They call it ‘ambient awareness.’

It is, they say, very much like being physically near someone and picking up on his mood through the little things he does — body language, sighs, stray comments — out of the corner of your eye. Facebook is no longer alone in offering this sort of interaction online. In the last year, there has been a boom in tools for ‘microblogging’: posting frequent tiny updates on what you’re doing. The phenomenon is quite different from what we normally think of as blogging, because a blog post is usually a written piece, sometimes quite long: a statement of opinion, a story, an analysis.


But these new updates are something different. They’re far shorter, far more frequent and less carefully considered. One of the most popular new tools is Twitter, a website and messaging service that allows its two-million-plus users to broadcast to their friends haiku-length updates — limited to 140 characters, as brief as a mobile-phone text message — on what they’re doing.

There are other services for reporting where you’re traveling (Dopplr) or for quickly tossing online a stream of the pictures, videos or websites you’re looking at (Tumblr). And there are even tools that give your location. When the new iPhone, with built-in tracking, was introduced in July, one million people began using Loopt, a piece of software that automatically tells all your friends exactly where you are.”

In The Numerati, Stephen Baker talks about the data that is all over the Internet, and how data miners are trying to gather information to paint a picture of individuals.

That interview is from 2008 – the pervasiveness of intimate data is nothing new.


One of the best-known places where intimate details are shared and reshared is Twitter. It’s become an odd admixture of personal anecdotes and preferences, sprinkled with some news, although the news becomes a proportionately larger percentage when it becomes more sensational or local, as in the Boston Marathon bombings and the subsequent manhunt.

As Hermida, A. (2010). Twittering the news: The emergence of ambient journalism. Journalism Practice, 4(3), 297–308. [Library Link] says, “As with most media technologies, there is a degree of hyperbole about the potential of Twitter, with proclamations that ‘every major channel of information will be Twitterfied’ (Johnson, 2009). Furthermore, social media services are vulnerable to shifting and ever-changing social and cultural habits of audiences. While this paper has discussed micro-blogging in the context of Twitter, it is possible that a new service may replace it in the future. However, it is important to explore in greater depth the qualities of micro-blogging—real-time, immediate communication, searching, link-sharing and the follower structure—and their impact on the way news and information is communicated.”

It’s All Around Us

Quinnipiac Assignment 07 – ICM501 – The Ubiquity of Data: Ambient Awareness and Information Overload
English: Seal of the United States Department of Homeland Security. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We get the news about elections or a manhunt or the latest scientific breakthrough, alongside what our friends are eating for lunch, and what they think of the latest Charlize Theron movie. This avalanche, this garbage can full of data comes at us 24/7.

Going back to the initial example I gave, with its combination of voluntary and involuntary data grabs, how can an individual retain a measure of privacy? How can a person get off the notification train? It’s even harder than it was when Baker was interviewed. He says that a person would be able to retain some privacy by paying for tolls with cash. But that’s not true anymore – all toll booths are now under the purview of cameras. Certainly all credit and debit card transactions leave what is still quaintly referred to as a paper trail.

If we are going to try to maintain a semblance of privacy, we’ll need to do it pretty close to home. After all, in the wake of 9/11, purchasing a plane ticket or hiring a rental car by using cash will get you a look-see from the Department of Homeland Security. Maybe we should all just sit at home and order pizza.

But then, inevitably, someone would upload an image of their pepperoni and mushroom pie onto Instagram. We’d know that their cholesterol level and blood pressure were probably about to go up, and we’d be right back where we started.

Analytics Quinnipiac

Quinnipiac Assignment #04 – Media Convergence

Quinnipiac Assignment #04 – Media Convergence

Once again, we did not have to prepare a YouTube video. Therefore, instead, I am going to reprint one of my essays, in its entirety. This one is about media convergence. As media (print, television, Internet, etc.) all becomes deliverable on one piece of hardware (generally a smartphone or an iPad), and one is advertised or copied or shared on another, should our metrics and means of measuring reach, etc. on these platforms also diverge? And what does that mean for the future of measurement?

Media Convergence

Wishing and Hoping AKA The Past

Back even before television was three channels, data was gathered via Nielsen ratings. Nielsen started in the 1920s but didn’t really get into media analysis until the 1942 radio index. In 1950, it was followed by the television index. (Nielsen, 90 Years, By 2000, Nielsen had gotten into measuring Internet usage.

Throughout most of this nine-decade period, media was siloed. Radio was analyzed one way, television another, etc. But it was mainly counting. How many people watched a show? How many listened to a particular radio station? With 1987’s People Meter (Nielsen, 25 Years of the People Meter,, an effort was made to gather more granular data, and to gather it more rapidly. However, Nielsen’s efforts were still confined to extrapolated samples. Was their sampling correct? In 1992, the People Meter was used for the first time in an attempt to measure Hispanic viewing habits. But even in 2012, the total number of people meters in use was in a mere 20,000 households. Were the samples representative? It’s hard to say.

Here and Now AKA It’s Better, But ….

Social media qualitative measurements, including sentiment analysis, are an effort to understand viewer, user, and listener behaviors. Nielsen and the like measure quantifiable information such as time on a channel (or page). But qualitative measurement goes beyond that, in an effort to understand why people visit a website. Topsy, for example, measures the number of positive and negative mentions of a site, product, service, celebrity, etc. Yet a lot of this is still quantitative data. Consider Martha Stewart as a topic of online conversation.

Adventures in Career Changing | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Quinnipiac Assignment 04 – ICM 524 Media Convergence
Martha Stewart on Topsy, June 9, 2014


All we can see are numbers, really (the spike was on the day that a tweet emerged claiming that Martha Stewart had a drone). This is still counting. There are no insights into why that tweet resonated more than others.

Media convergence is mashing everything together in ways that audiences probably didn’t think were possible even a scant thirty years ago. But now, we watch our television shows online, we are encouraged to tweet to our favorite radio stations, our YouTube videos become part of television advertising, and our Tumblr images are being slipped into online newspapers. All of this and more can be seen on our iPads. Add a phone to this (or just use an iPhone or an Android phone instead of an iPad), and you’ve got nearly everything bundled together. How is this changing analytics? For one thing, what is it that we are measuring? When we see a music video on YouTube, are we measuring viewer sentiments about the sounds or the images? When we measure a television program’s Facebook engagement, is it directly related to the programming, to the channel, to viewer sentiment about the actors or the writers, or something else? What does it mean to like or +one anything anymore, when a lot of people seem to reflexively vote up their friends’ shared content?

I believe that our analysis has got to converge as our media and our devices converge. After all, what is the online experience these days? On any given day, a person might use their iPad to look up a restaurant on Yelp, get directions on Google Maps, view the menu on the restaurant’s own website, check in via FourSquare, take a picture of their plate and upload it to Instagram, and even share their dining experience via a Facebook photo album, a short Vine video or a few quick tweets. If the restaurant gets some of that person’s friends as new customers, where did they come from? The review on Yelp? The check in via FourSquare? The Vine video? The Facebook album? The tweets? The Instagram image? Or was it some combination thereof?

Avinash Kaushik talks about multitouch campaign attribution analysis (Avinash Kaushik, Web Analytics 2.0, Pages 358 – 368), whereby customers might receive messages about a site, product, service, etc. from any number of different sources. On Page 358, he writes, “During the visits leading up to the conversion, the customer was likely exposed to many advertisements from your company, such as a banner ad or Affiliate promotion. Or the customer may have been contacted via marketing promotions, such as an email campaign. In the industry, each exposure is considered a touch by the company. If a customer is touched multiple times before converting, you get a multitouch conversion.” Kaushik reveals that measuring which message caused a conversion is an extraordinarily difficult thing to do.

With media convergence, the number of touches in a campaign can begin to come together. Facebook likes can be measured for all channels. Tweets can be counted for whichever messages are being sent on Twitter, whatever they are about. Will attribution be any easier? Hard to say, but if the number of channels continues to collapse into one, will it matter quite so much in the future?