net .locality

Technology blurs the boundaries between public and private. The urban dweller, seduced into disclosing the content of a private communication becomes an urban consumer. (Gordon and deSouza, 2011, p. 173) In an ‘economy of attention’ (Lanham, 2006 cited in Gordon and deSouza, 2011, p. 79), this desire to be located and contextualised in a networked locality of miniaturised icons and intermittent text is exploited and aggregated; ‘dataveillance’ (Clarke, 1988 cited in Gordon and deSouza, 2011, p. 11) becomes normalised for commercial prediction and social stratification. Public space is privatised and private information is disclosed as public.

The ‘perceived’ (Gordon and deSouza, 2011) social norm of co-presence in the digital and physical world leaves me confused and resentful, bound up in a fear of losing control over a fledgling digital identity. To compound my anxiety, privacy policies and terms of usage employ a syntax requiring an entire module to Master, to the extent I blindly accepted Foursquare et al.

SC20140315-184025 SC20140315-184041

"i need more real screen estate!" App: Wikitude  Geolocation: in bed

“i need more real screen estate!”
App: Wikitude
Geolocation: in bed


I discovered a kebab shop had some friends I could check-in with. I also discovered that my screen real estate was insufficient for the information overload I was attempting to navigate. Customising my networked locality was going to take a long time, besides which the shopping centre was about to close along with their free wiFi.



This attempt to discover and use a socio-spatial practice was doomed because I was unwilling to be seduced by its representation. I was not engaged by sharing with peers nor my provider and did not want the attention. Interestingly enough, on a parochial level (Humphreys & Liao, 2013) I am quite happy to make objections to local planning initiatives for yet another multi-occupancy concrete bunker or sign an ePetition to improve local workers terms and conditions, yet the experience of net locality for the purposes of socialising and entertainment left me cold and ultimately excluded.

Don’t like shopping, not really big on kebabs but I may spend time customising my digital presence to engage and motivate others in civic action. By checking-in to my urban space and legitimising the representation of a contextualised locality, I could be ‘mayor’ in a town of like-minded people.





GORDON, E. (2008) Towards a theory of network locality. First Monday, 13(10). <Available at:> [Accessed 12mar2014].

GORDON, E. & de SOUZA eSILVA, A. (2011). Net locality: why location matters in a networked world, Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

HUMPHREYS, L. & LIAO, T. (2013). Foursquare and the parochialization of public space. First Monday, 18(11). <Available at:> [Accessed 12mar2014].

TOSONI, S. & TARANTINO, M., (2013). Space, translations and media. First Monday, 18(11). <Available at:> [Accessed 12mar2014].



GORDON, E. (2013). Place of Social Media. Technology and Civic Engagement
 <Available at:> [Accessed 12mar2014].

TELHAN, O. & YAVUZ, Mahir M. (2013) United Colours of Dissent. <Available at:> [Accessed 12mar2014].

An example of civic engagement and gaming by the engagement game lab, who’s executive director is Eric Gordon



field notes 12march2014