The influence of social identity when digitally sharing location

Rahman, Abdur (2016) The influence of social identity when digitally sharing location. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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By enabling users to self-report their whereabouts and share it with a vast and diverse audience, location sharing systems can be useful means of projecting the self and expressing one’s social identity (an individual’s personal self-conception). Through three research studies, this thesis investigates how social identity influences the digital sharing of location. It does so by first exploring how people socially interact offline and then investigates how facets of this behaviour are enacted in location sharing systems. Thus, it offers insights into how offline social behaviour extends to digital spaces and how it impacts social interaction in the digital realm.

This thesis finds that social identity not only influences digital location sharing, but in systems that enable social networking, is the very driving force behind the phenomenon. Users actively exhibit their identity through their location, using it as a means of communicating moods, emotions, activities, and experiences. Social identity impacts the places likely to be shared and those places, in turn, reflect one’s identity by revealing much about an individual’s personality and lifestyle.

This research also discovers that aspects of offline social behaviour have not been replicated particularly well in the online world. Conventional location sharing systems often require users to broadcast their content to one homogenous ‘friends’ list. This model overlooks some of the key components of offline social behaviour such as multi-faceted identities, context-specific behaviour and the heterogeneity of human relationships. This can result in challenges when attempting to manage different facets of identity and can heighten anxieties about sharing as a whole. Recommendations are made on how such issues can be mitigated in future platforms.

This thesis has implications for the design of future location sharing systems. By studying human interaction in digital environments, it also contributes to the Human Factors and HCI disciplines.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Sharples, Sarah
Morley, Jeremy
Brown, Michael
Keywords: Location sharing, social media, social identity, human factors, HCI
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA 75 Electronic computers. Computer science
T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering > TK5101 Telecommunication
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Engineering
Item ID: 32491
Depositing User: Rahman, Abdur
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2016 14:47
Last Modified: 04 Apr 2022 10:42

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