Blog Post

Location Based Services — A Stalkers Friend Or The End Of Obituaries

IHT has a short post on location based services, giving a few examples of the companies in the space but more interestingly also giving some examples of the rhetoric on either side.
“To Jyri Engestrom, most cellphone speed-dial systems might as well be a list of obituaries…”You see the names of your closest friends, but you don’t know where they are or what they are doing,” Engestrom said. “For all you know, they could be dead.”
This contrasts with comments from Danah Boyd, who researches social media at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. “An increased flow of information should not be confused with a deeper bond…The situation these technologies create is similar to what happens with Angelina Jolie or another celebrity…Just because I know a lot about a person does not mean they will help me on a tough day.”
Which is reasonable, but he then goes on to say that LBS users “might find themselves unable to break away from following friends or old lovers…”The problem is that people really, really love stalking,” Boyd said. “When you have just ended a relationship, it is not necessarily healthy to follow the exact location of your ex- lover minute-by-minute on your phone.” Perhaps, but I don’t think that’s the technology…