Sense and Sensibility in a Pervasive World
edited by: Judy Kay, Paul Lukowicz, Hideyuki Tokuda, Patrick Olivier, Antonio Krüger
The increasing popularity of location based social services such as Facebook Places, Foursquare and Google Latitude, solicits a new trend in fusing social networking with real-world sensing. The availability of a wide range of sensing technologies in our everyday environment presents an opportunity to further enrich social networking systems with fine-grained real-world sensing. However, the introduction of passive sensing into a social networking application disrupts the traditional, user-initiated input to social services, raising both privacy and acceptability concerns. In this work we present an empirical study of the introduction of a sensor-driven social sharing application within the working environment of a research institution. Our study is based on a real deployment of a system that involves location tracking, conversation monitoring, and interaction with physical objects. By utilizing surveys, interviews and experience sampling techniques, we report on our findings regarding privacy and user experience issues, and significant factors that can affect acceptability of such services by the users. Our results suggest that such systems deliver significant value in the form of self reflection and comparison with others, while privacy concerns are raised primarily by the limited control over the way individuals are projected to their peers.