Individual Submission Summary

Direct link:

Locative media, affordances and the duality of resources and routines

Sat, September 1, 11:00am to 12:30pm, ICC, C2.1


The focus of our presentation lies on the affordances of locative media. Locative media are social media apps on mobile devices designed to provide users with additional information about their current location. Usually, these are designed to change the experience of material space via the interface of a smartphone. Some apps link virtual annotations to GPS coordinates (e.g. “Foursquare”); others serve as a social radar to locate nearby friends or to look for potential flirt partners (e.g. “Tinder”). Locative media have the potential of changing their users’ perceptions of urban spaces by suggesting particular location-based activities such as meeting a friend that happens to be nearby or making a detour to a place that seems to be a promising “PokéStop”. The affordance concept as applied by Norman to human-machine interaction is a good starting point to analyse locative media. However, a lot of research in STS and beyond has made clear that technology-in-use is but a snap shot in the ongoing process of the co-construction of technology and users. The perceived affordances of locative media, thus, should be viewed as temporary stabilisations in ongoing interactive processes in which users change their routines and practices in accordance to their interpretations of how the services provided by locative media might be useful for them while the providers of these locative media adapt digital designs of their apps to these emerging practices. By focussing on this duality of resources and routines, we will elaborate on the perceived action possibilities provided by locative media.