Checking into Foursquare’s Time Machine by digiphile


Check out digiphile’s blog: Checking into Foursquare’s Time Machine.

Dr. V told me that she is not always a big fan of infographics because they tend not to report sample sizes and methods.  That said, I’m reposting this because I thought the article accompanying it was an excellent reflection on why infographics (and the stories we tell with social media data) have both benefits and drawbacks.  In addition, I’d like to address two ideas:

  • Considering Physical Tracking
  • Socially Mediated Identity

First, tracking: I have not yet tried Foursquare, and I’ll be honest … of the various social media outlets out there, this one spooks me a little bit.  While I know (theoretically) that my movements are digitally tracked through computer logins, GPS units in my phone and car, check-ins by me and others through Facebook, etc., the premise of Foursquare is a bit jarring to my old-school mind.  It is “in your face” and up-front with its intentions to physically track a person.  Sometime this semester, I’ll jump in to check it out.

Second: identity.  The author makes an interesting point … while this infographic is pretty, life is so much more than the sum of these places.  This does not represent the evaluations, experiences, and stories that go along with the data points.  That said, the author also appreciates the nostalgia of the graphic … as if it were a journal.  For me, as a social media user, I find it important to be mindful about who I am online, but also … who I am in general.  These types of discussions nicely force the issue.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Checking into Foursquare’s Time Machine by digiphile

  1. Foursquare, an incredible tracking device. It’s interesting how they use gamification to entertain the users. But I am not sure yet if it has more positive than negative effects… I guess we’ll have to try Foursquare to know better all its functions. Thanks for your post!

  2. This is a really “beautiful” graphic. The idea of being able to track your recent visits is very interesting.

    Are we putting too much emphasis on personal safety and security? Is this topic a thing of the past? This may be a blog/discussion topic for the entire class.

  3. I have only one checkin on Foursquare (at Google headquarters, because I thought it makes me cool :). But, I use it a lot when I travel to discover restaurant recommendations from my contacts. It is very helpful that way. I enjoy being a Foursquare lurker, I guess! 🙂

  4. Oh, and also – data viz should not be confused with infographics…

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