During spring 2013, I used this blog to host a project I executed for a graduate school course, in which I investigated the practice of a select population through their online activity during a period of time that roughly began in summer 2009 and ended in spring 2013. Specifically, I am referring to those individuals who were using the smartphone app (or companion website) developed by Foursquare to log their regional activities by checking in to venues. More specifically, I tracked their individual and aggregate activity relative to ten Central Phoenix coffeehouses which Foursquare shortlisted for its Best of project which featured 30 major metropolitan cities including Phoenix.
As mobile devices proliferate and geolocation technology pervades our day-to-day activities, online interactions and connections that we used to think of as being the exclusive domain of the desktop computer have given way to more nimble and immediate channels: texting, Twitter, smartphone apps, and synchronized and shared content. How do these channels influence our practices; and how do our practices push these channels to evolve? These questions provide the basis for this sampling of activity within a population that has conducted itself, in part, along one such online channel. While the posts associated with this project have been written to allow for reading in any order, the recommended sequence (if desired) is listed below. They follow in two acts: (1) the context of communities that connect online as well as the use and practice of Foursquare, and (2) profiles of select coffeehouses meant to illustrate some of the major themes evoked by user-generated comments posted to Foursquare.
The majority of this work was conducted during March and April 2013.
Select slides for in-class presentation on May 2, 2013:
The above image of a Chihuly glass installation at the Desert Botanical Gardens in 2008 offers a visual metaphor for concurrent channels (such as the ones under exploration in this blog): the organic yet slow progression of the cactus blended with the powerful yet fragile constructs of glass…each pulsing with different energy and information
With regard to what this blog is truly about, well, I expect that to change over time. For now, what I’ve outlined above is what is on the menu. Each time this channel gets tweaked or shifts, I’ll endeavor to archive the past here, at the bottom of this page. For now, this is only the first shift away what was intended to be a more regular exploration of online venues during the course of spring 2013. Much of those explorations happened outside the boundaries of this WordPress blog; however, for the genesis of this blog, see my first entry: Adventure Ho!