Bookmark: "I Am Here: One Man's Experiment With the Location-Aware Lifestyle"

Sebastian Greger


I wanted to know more about this new frontier, so I became a geo-guinea pig. My plan: Load every cool and interesting location-aware program I could find onto my iPhone and use them as often as possible. […] I would become the most location-aware person on the Internets!

Mathew Honan’s self-experiment with tracking himself on every service and device possible in real time reveals a range of issues that may not be apparent at first.

From accidentially revealing that his wife is home alone by sharing that he is out of town by himself (a classic example of how digital products or services can have an impact of non-users, commonly forgotten in design always focused on the user) to friends believing that him sharing his whereabouts is a sign of loneliness – and finally coming to the realization that:

I had gained better location awareness but was losing my sense of place. Sure, with the proper social filters, location awareness needn’t be invasive or creepy. But it can be isolating. Even as we gradually digitize our environment, we should remember to look around the old-fashioned way.

This is a recommended read to everybody working with location-aware services, as this auto-ethnography raises a range of aspects of what may seem like purely digital play.

I'm Sebastian, Sociologist and Interaction Designer. This journal is mostly about bringing toge­ther social science and design for inclusive, privacy-focused, and sustainable "human-first" digital strategies. I also tend to a "digital garden" with carefully curated resources.

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