The continuing influence of digital technology has spurred new practices when it comes to using smartphones. A new survey published Thursday by the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project revealed a gradual rise in the use of local services in the United States along with the increasing adoption of smartphones.
At a time of non-stop sophisticated smartphones, a new layer has surged for location information of posts that are shared online. The tendency has evolved from the days of just checking-in to places (for example Foursquare, Facebook or others) or tagging yourself to show other people online where you were eating, visiting or traveling.
“Many people use their smartphones to navigate the world: 74% of adult smartphone owners ages 18 and older say they use their phone to get directions or other information based on their current location,” according to the Pew Internet survey.
Initially there seemed to be a competitive trend to develop the latest and most innovative location-friendly services by social networking companies. A lot of the perceptions may have changed or were influenced indirectly in light of the leaks made about the National Security Agency's (NSA) access of sensitive information.
Below are two additional findings for this study that include how the use of location figures into the practice for most users:
- “There is notable growth in the number of social media users who are now setting their accounts to include location in their posts. Among adult social media users ages 18 and older, 30% say that at least one of their accounts is currently set up to include their location in their posts, up from 14% who said they had ever done this in 2011.2 This trend is also showing up among younger users. An earlier Pew Internet survey of teens ages 12-17 found that 16% of teen social media users have their accounts set up to automatically include their location in posts.3”
- “There is a modest drop in the number of smartphone owners who use “check in” location services. Some 12% of adult smartphone owners say they use a geosocial service to “check in” to certain locations or share their location with friends. That is down from 18% of smartphone owners who reported doing that type of activity in early 2012. A plurality of these geosocial service users (39%) say they check into places on Facebook; 18% say they use Foursquare and 14% say they use Google Plus, among other services.”
What also became apparent was users have started to turn off location tracking features from these powerful devices. As of September 2012 46 percent of teen app users turned of tracking functionalities. In addition adults, specifically 35 percent also turned off any location-tracking option from their device.
The location feature of smartphones is a useful tool that comes in handy to find any business, retailer or getting directions. But once again the leaks have shifted the use of the local function and adopted in a different way. People´s privacy concern has become an important worry and any sensitive information known to be accessed by the federal agency makes people think twice before sharing on the internet or social networking place.
The survey was conducted by telephone interview (in English and Spanish) with a sample size of 2,252 of adults ages 18 and older. The date range was between April 17 to May 19 2013. There is a 95 confidence level and a 2.3 plus or minus percentage points for margin of error.