Geosocial networking embeds web 2.0 social networking within real-world geographical spaces, encouraging interactions between users who have been, are, will be, or could be in the same locations. It is generally dependent on the use of GPS-enabled mobile devices to identify your location, and to geotag your uploaded comments, images or videos to your location, and can thus align with mobile learning. Increasingly, geosocial networking is facilitated by augmented reality interfaces.
Geosocial networking was originally found on dedicated geosocial services like Foursquare (where you can check into and comment on a wide range of real-world locations) and Yelp (where you can read and contribute restaurant reviews). Similar functionality is now available on most major web 2.0 services like Facebook or Instagram, where users can check into, or tag their posts to, real-world geographical locations.
Geosocial networking permits two main kinds of connections, with the second kind allowing a wide range of specific uses:
- it can reinforce existing social connections by alerting you when friends or contacts are nearby
- it can facilitate new social conversations and connections, for example:
- reading and responding to reviews by previous visitors to a cultural venue or event, and adding your own
- viewing comments and images by previous diners in a restaurant, and adding your own
- meeting potential friends or partners with matching profiles or tastes (which is the basis of many contemporary dating apps)
From an educational point of view, there is value in reading and responding to the comments of previous visitors to cultural and other locations, and potentially in engaging with past and present teachers and students in conversations which stretch across time but remain tagged to given geographical locations. Foursquare, in particular, has been explored by tertiary institutions as a platform for students to share information and tips about everyday life on campus. Many emerging augmented reality learning trails or games also encourage such spatially localised, temporally distributed educational conversations.
More information about geosocial networking is available on the Publications on Mobile Learning page.
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