Social value of location-based content collection

In "Social Practices in Location-Based Collecting", O'Hara et al. describes an alternative approach for location-based technologies "by focussing on the collecting and keeping of location-based content as opposed to simply the in situ consumption of content". Their point is that collecting and keeping can have important social values over and above simply consuming the content in situ. They present here a user study of a "location-based visitor application at London Zoo where content triggers at particular animal exhibits allowed people to gather and consume location-relevant content on mobile phones". Let me go directly to the results obtained through qualitative analysis:

"Through the fieldwork in this paper what we have demonstrated is that over and above the instrumental value of location-based content, where the right information is provided at the right place/time, there are additional non-instrumental aspects ofthese location-based experiences from which value is derived. These have to do with the social motivations bound up in the collecting and keeping of content. This is more than simply the automatic logging of content accessed that you would get from the likes of the History section in a web browser. It was about the active construction of a meaningful set of the location-based content which made the act of collecting an end itself. (...) the role of the collection of location-based content in identity work; in developing a sense of challenge and achievement; in defining a sense of group camaraderie; and in creating a playful sense of competition among group members. Further, we see how narratives told around the collected location-based content over time imbue it with additional value. These narratives become part of the resources through which relationship with family and friends get actively constructed."

Why do I blog his? after the previous blogpost in which I complain about the fact that LBS usage have trouble going beyond past examples, this paper is quite refreshing in documenting how the collecting of content (tied to a specific location) have an important social value. It definitely shows the importance of location-based content, beyond the delivery model (and shows also the importance of time, a sort of asynchronous value)

O'Hara, Kenton, Kindberg, Tim, Glancy, Maxine, Baptista, Luciana, Sukumaran, Byju, Kahana, Gil and Rowbotham, Julie (2007): Social practices in location-based collecting. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2007 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2007. pp. 1225-1234.