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Relationship Between Social Media, Identity Performance, IT and Location

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Technology
Wordcount: 3285 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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A research by Schwartz and Halegoua, (2015) postulates that an increased growth in the number of social media platforms has now led to the inclusion of user’s information location, researchers being confronted with up to date individual representations, places of the inhabitant, and social networks. To better gain insight on these implications and representations, an introduction of the spatial self; the concept is important; which refer to a theoretical outline that encapsulates the procedure to online self-presentation on the basis of offline physical activities display. Building on various social science, information science, computer, and humanities, we carry out an analysis of on the methods of harnessing offline experiences as well as their online performance (Gunder, M. and Hillier, 2016). To better comprehend this, we first provide an encircling interdisciplinary research survey with an objective to investigate the relationship between identity performance, information technology, and location.

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Then we examine various occurrences via case studies of popular sites such as Foursquare, Instagram, and Facebook. Finally, the paper aims to offer possible research methodological considerations and guidelines for analyzing geocoded media data. Over the recent past, (Arthur, 2018), practices, meanings, and norms that surround the digital physical traces have continued to grow on social media platforms with the incorporation of geocoded data into images, video, and text. Public officials for instance the technology developers, researchers, urban planners, have begun to gather as well as conducting analysis on geotagged videos and photos, location announcements, status updates, with a sole objective to make claims about the design and use of urban infrastructure, public space, local sentiment, mobility patterns, and place experiences.

                These efforts have brought about many questions on the use of location centered social media as well as the documentation and representation of physical presence and physical mobility that require further investigation. For instance, what are the things likely to be learned about users based on the growing number of visualizations on social media’s physical activities? What are the conditions, situations, and intentions under which the understanding and production of these digital traces take place?


           We take into consideration the display of social media’s physical activities as a precise expression of spatial self. Spatial self as defined by Clark, Gertler, and Whiteman, (2017) refer to both offline and online varieties of instances that involve the documentation, display, and archive of experiences by individual users as well as mobility within place and space with a general objective to perform or to present the characteristics of their distinctiveness to others. In this essay we further pay a close attention to a specific enunciation of the spatial identity, one with a general performance of digital application described to the recording of experiences and activities in physical places, generally pooled by others through the social media. This simply implies that of the changes realized on the individual presentation to online audiences from visual and textual cues for instance as videos, photos, or status messages to geographical data visualization, geocoded digital traces, and individual maps pattern of mobility (Schwartz, and Halegoua, 2015).

Place, identity and social media

           Research based on impression management and self-presentation on popular social networking sites have in recent years increased (Arthur, 2018). As observed by a number of scholars, theories based on self-presentation and identity, backstage and front stage presentations, as well as a focus on audiences, contexts, and situations for social behavior have become prevalent in the literature of social media. In addition, there has been a utilization of the notion of performativity in the subjectivity and mobility discussions as well as a sharing and representation of online collocation. For instance, Van House (2009) carried out an analysis on both Butler’s and Goffman’s performance interpretations that directly apply to mobile photography with a conclusion that it is through posing and taking of photos that we usually manage self-impressions and enact identities both collectively and individually. Generally, the scholars come to a common point of view that it is via the video, images, friend lists, profiles, visible conversations, comments, tastes and preferences visible in the profile presented by the social media participants show the accurate versions of themselves.

            Nevertheless, there are still rare studies about the combination of identity performance, place, and location centered social media. Various work by a number of philosophers introduces the place presentation with an objective to explain identity performance through location-aware technologies. However, the presentation of the place has a general focus on the physical place impressions delivered by the visitors, or even the place social construction via location established social media, other than place harnessing to identity performance on the social network. The presentation of location may consequently encourage bonding, trust, and homophily, amidst those who occasionally visit certain sites as well as participation in location centered social media (Arthur, 2018).

The self and location-based social media

             In the years prior to the universality of location established social media platforms, some philosophers postulated that some geocoded traces, for instance, audio, video clips, and photographs, can be gathered before analysis with an objective to gain access to the local knowledge and mobility complexities as well as the urban experience. In this case, it can be noted that such studies like this can result in qualitative instead of quantitative scrutiny hence an employment of GIS. More to note is the value of geocoded digital expressions in the creation of body inscriptions, life maps, biographical accounts, and spatial stories of the daily life from cultural and specific cultural perspectives (Arthur, 2018). Locative media related projects from the year 2000 were believed to encourage mobile technology uses in this method. These platforms are analyzed as remembering interfaces that imply a dissemination and creation of embodied community and individual histories of place. The applications of locative media primarily focused on location announcement, for instance, google latitude, bright kite, loopt, dodgeball, and Foursquare; which have been analyzed via a different lens.

            Rather than making presentations of spatial stories, body inscriptions, or place’s personal histories, philosophers have scribed on the methods by which the applications in question uphold new interactions between digital and physical spaces, social and spatial relations, local information, proximity, and present feelings. Terms, for instance, hybrid mediated spatiality and net locality have been put into the application to pronounce the overlap of digital information, physical space, social-spatial contexts and relations that transpire via these mobile applications. The game mechanics incorporated into location established services, for instance, Gowalla and Foursquare have been known to provide place and sociality into a schmoozed game, or else turning of life into a game through encouraging the participants to adjust mobility patterns on the basis of game-oriented rewards. Additionally, studies show that dissimilar contexts and motivations for the announcement of locations over social networks result to consequent socially driven decisions concerning location either disclosure or non-disclosure (Pym, 2017).

                It is also worthwhile to note that though with the promotion of location centered social media on the basis of a meeting up or coordination of other operators in physical space, a good number of them decides to selectively newscast their location even with a limited or minimal possibilities for getting together face to face (Clark, Gertler, and Whiteman, 2017). Moreover, it is also suggested that catalog practices, as well as an archiving of personal presence and mobility as well as presence within places, encourages an intimate attachment with friends, as used in the provision of making inside jokes, self-promotion, receiving rewards or points for certain actions or habits, or recording of places to act as a memory aid. Location centered social media operators often comprehend their participation in location announcement as reinforced or augmented for other online profiles. For the entire instances, individual representations as well as personal narratives of physical suppleness on social media and undoubtedly omitting certain locations, revealing trace mobility while emphasizing others usually premeditated but imprecise.

Location established social media

           Foursquare is an example of location established social network initially launched in the year 2009 with a providence for check-in for its participants to their places of a visit with instant sharing of data with friends. By January 2013, the company had generated approximately thirty million users internationally and therefore emerging to being among the leading location established services globally. Many of its customers usually check-ins and reconnoiter new places surrounding them as the application has the ability to boost the sharing of local know-how and finding out the location of your friends.

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            Location disclosure motivations and non-disclosure via social media have shown an interesting relationship between impression presentation, management, and check-ins through these platforms of self. Among the reiterated motives for disclosure comprise of privacy concerns, self-presentation embarrassment, ethics and professionalism, and unwillingness to junk a social network with redundant check-ins.  A majority of these concerns arise from the participants’ comprehension of their check-in composing of their self-online presentation. Ethnographic research on various location centered use of social media have realized of the desire by the participants for mobility pattern cataloging and self-quantification as well as the physical presence above time periods (Clark, Gertler, and Whiteman, 2017). The users have also come to discover that their check-ins archives can be of importance in remembering the past areas of stay, whom they were with as well as the time. An examination of the check-ins, such as those of Foursquare as well as annotations, and geocoded images through the spatial self-lens can have a resultant additional quantitative framework basically for comprehending the individual sociality and mobility patterns, with a highlight of online social practices and contexts within which location documentation and announcement of personal mobility occur.    

Study of physical places, social networks, and individuals

             The spatial self may be viewed as being an additional way by which people usually carry out their online identity, along the management with self-presentation on location centered social media as well as social networking sites. While still much remains unlearned about the connections between mobility digital production, sociality, physical activities’ presentations and place should never be presumed accurate. Spatial self-brings a revelation to the researchers that these digital traces are embedded within specific significations systems, social contexts, and subject to particular norms and audiences. In case of anything, they turn to be more of being performative than defined. This, therefore, depicts spatial self as a concept that calls for methodological caution in the analysis of location centered social media information, location announcement online, and social media mobility iteration. Researchers through the use of large digital traces amounts can study the nature of particular physical places via the invention of modern lenses. On the social media, a utilization of the participant’s historical actions and consequently setting the foundation of a physical place’s dynamic narrative. An examination of the emerging patterns from the participant’s demographics, photos, tips, videos, and comments can deduce the way by which certain places work on various social landscapes.  The communicative cataloging actions of the inner space, meta space or outer space is present in all the platforms and may be applied by the identity makers to signify the importance (Schwartz, and Halegoua, 2015).

               On social networks, individual activities in the corporeal places can be used in the characterization as well as uncovering of social network’s collective geographical patterns. For instance, a check-in by a group of friends in a definite location may result in the sending of cues to the online audience concerning the connection between social networks and the attached social network. The study of online cues about social networks and geographical contexts can result to the augmentation of profiles brought about by urban planners with an objective to represent a variety of interactions between political constituencies, groups, tourists, demographic populations, etc. in the public space. The comprehension of spatial self can represent robustly the mobility patterns for various groups of people as well as that which the patterns can signify   


           The spatial self-digital expressions may help scholars to understand upon highlights the new re- and self-inscriptions of performances of the body in space and place. The digital traces usually produced by people via location centered social media networks have the ability to inform the researcher’s know-how about urban mobility and experience, but should at the same time be recognized and exhibited or recognized traces or larger articulations of fragments of spatial realities and presence. Geolocated tweets, check-ins, posts, images, as well as other methods of artifacts of personal mobility and location announcement are sections of the larger performances and narratives of experience and embodiment of place (Arthur, 2018). Nonetheless, this geolocated information is usually masqueraded to being quantitative when it should be a composition of quantitative and qualitative data with such treatment. GPS, GIS, digital navigation as well as navigation technologies and maps are in general often presaged as precise, accurate, and are connoted with various concepts, for instance, security and surveillance rather than flexibility and performativity (Pym, 2017).

             Through a conceptualization of maps as well as cartographic practice to being direct, precise reality presentations, ignorance to the cartographic social construction and subjectivity, we also abjure vital cultural elucidations of the conceptions. Because a text, artifact, or image, is geocoded and do not imply that it is an objectivity precise or reality location. Rather, since the digital traces are generally geocoded to represent specific being methods as well as world representations, necessitates for cultural interpretations for analysis and unpacking (Schwartz, and Halegoua, 2015). In addition, there exists privacy apprehensions that call for some considerations during the process of gathering the user spawned geo-located information, for instance due to the reason that planners and researchers are usually not the intended audience for the expressions in discussion, as well as recirculation and isolation of the digital productions failing to be the participant’s consent. While researchers are urged to put into application ethical caution in the analysis prior to the gathering of presence and mobility digital traces, methodological caution as well is also urged (Pym, 2017).  


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