martes, 19 de julio de 2011

What’s In A Check-In? ~ The Psychology Of Geosocial

What’s In A Check-In? ~ The Psychology Of Geosocial

By Jamie Lipson. 16/07/2011- involver.com.
From Foursquare to Facebook Places to Twitter’s Location functionality, check-ins seem to be all the rage. However, while geosocial is a constant buzz in the social media space, it has failed to gain mainstream traction. Why is this the case? Why wouldn’t people want to know where their friends are on a Friday night? Is there a social risk attached to geosocial? Are there privacy concerns? To grabble with these questions, this post will take the form of a psychological analysis, showing how prevailing social media conventions have resulted in geosocial’s lackluster mainstream adoption.
Locations vs. Places
There is a difference between a location and a place. Locations are simply coordinates, whereas a place has social value, it can create engagement. 31º14’06″N/115º48’40″W doesn’t resonate with people, but checking in at a wedding or a funeral does (this may not be proper etiquette, however becoming the Foursquare mayor of your local cemetery can be mighty tempting).
The psychological thought process of checking in on your favorite geosocial application is informed by the psychology surrounding our social identity. The amplification effects of sharing content on social networks is so potentially massive, that we all abstract our behavior to some extent (consciously or subconsciously). People share content because it gives them social capital, and we all want to preserve and bolster our social identities.
Where Social Identity & Reality Collide
The tendency to not use geosocial applications is an extension of our need to maintain the social identities that we have all created for ourselves. The need to maintain our social identity trickles down and influences where we check in and where we don’t. Checking in to a boring (or even embarrassing) place does not bolster ones social graph, and as a result people tend to forgo the check-in process altogether.
Imagine that you really just want to go to McDonalds, but you know that the gastropub down the street would result in greater engagement with your social network. Resisting the temptation for a $20 burger, you enjoy your Big Mac in private. Of course this is not to say that no one is proud to eat at McDonalds, it depends on the person. The point is that if a place sends signals that will resonate with your social network, you’ll be more likely to check in. If not, you won’t check in at all. Whatever your food preferences may be (or for that matter preferences for anything), our social identities always prevents us from utilizing geosocial applications 100% of the time.
People check in to places for many reasons. Perhaps they can get a discount, or maybe they want a Foursquare badge. But in more instances than not, people will utilize a geosocial application in the hopes of creating engagement and bettering their social identity. The fear is not that people will know where they are at all times, its that no one will care or give accolades to where they actually go. Primal human insecurity is at the root of geosocial’s sluggish mainstream adoption, as people are choosing simply not to play for fear of compromising their finely cultivated social identities.

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