SpotAFriendNow: Social Interaction through Location-Based Social Networks

  • Bibi van den Berg
  • Martin Pekarek
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6428)


Location-based social networks – or ‘SpotAFriendNow applications’, as we call them – are currently undergoing tremendous growth. These mobile Internet applications combine geographic or locational data with social network functionalities. To date, researchers have extensively discussed two trends in network and mobile technologies over the last decades: (1) the virtualization of our social interactions in everyday life; (2) the ongoing individualization and the anti-social nature of mobile communication. We argue that SpotAFriendNow applications can be understood as an interesting response to these two trends. First, since these applications base their behaviors on the user’s bodily location in the real world, the physical is returned to the equation in technologically mediated social interactions. Second, SpotAFriendNow applications enable individuals to connect with (unknown) others in their physical proximity, thereby facilitating what we call ‘ad hoc intimacy’, and thus countering the ongoing trend of hyper-individualization enabled by (mobile) technologies.


location-based services social network sites SpotAFriendNow virtualization sociality mobile technologies 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bibi van den Berg
    • 1
  • Martin Pekarek
    • 1
  1. 1.Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology and SocietyTilburg UniversityTilburgThe Netherlands

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