Why do you check in?

After our interviews earlier this year, location mashups and our ongoing studies into different ways of checking in, we’re now gathering more data to understand how people use location-sharing apps.

Gowalla & Foursquare users, why do you check-in and share? Help us out by filling out our survey.

Update: This survey is currently closed, thanks everyone!
If you’d like to participate in Mobile Life’s future studies on location-sharing or try out new location-based apps, please contact me via henriette AT mobilelifecentre.org. We’d really appreciate it!

Photo sharing, with restrictions

The last week of summer, Mobile Life’s Mobile 2.0 crew has been hanging out at Ung08. The crew was handing out Most Wanted, a mobile photo sharing app with a slight twist to bring back the preciousness of giving someone a physical photo print. To collect pictures you have to meet people in real life and they have to decide you’re worthy of sharing. You have to be close and you cannot ‘pass it on’ and you have to hang on to your collection.

The Ung08 festival is organised every last week of the Swedish summer holidays and it’s Europe’s biggest festival for 13-19 yr olds. At the Most Wanted tent they can have their mugshot taken, have the mobile app installed to share their picture with, show their picture on their Facebook profile and take a physical print. The atmosphere at Ung08 has been great and I’m loving the mugshots and sign poetry.

Interestingly, the Ung08 festival was started about 15 years ago as a way to ‘keep kids out of trouble’ during the last unruly week of their vacation. Even while the reason for its inception seems slightly cynical, it it actually quite inspiring to see the Stockholm approach to ‘youth issues’; rather than cracking down on the negative, you can inspire and have people enjoy themselves instead.

From a ‘research in the large’ perspective distributing an app at a festival to teenagers by allowing them to have their picture taken is quite interesting. What happens if you treat your app as a ‘product’ instead of just a research endeavor? iPhones, Droids and dataplans might be cool, but most teens are on a budget. If you don’t want teens to spend money on data traffic and use a local Bluetooth app, you have to convince them to spend effort and return to show who they’ve shared with. And how will they actually use the app? Or is it actually all about the old-fashioned photo print? Lots of lessons learned there already and there’s definitely not one size fits all solution. The follow-ups interviews are underway, now let’s see what we’ll learn about photo sharing, collecting and being cool…