Screenshot Geotagging photograph from my Instagram profile Location Map @ashleighnegri by Ashleigh Negri, 7 September 2016

Social networking has become an essential part of our daily lives. Geotagging has become something that is offered to show our friends and family on social media platforms where we are and what we are doing, with the addition of adding our location.

There are definitely advantages and disadvantages to geotagging. Safety is an obvious factor when it comes to geotagging. Yes it is great to tell people where you are through Instagram posts, Snapchat location filters and Facebook ‘Check-in’s’, however in a way the more people know, the worse it is.

Tweet imbedded from my Twitter profile @ashleighn2495

The surveillance issues are a worry for daily lives, because of the lack of privacy people have when they do post their location, however I think the onus is somewhat on the person who is posting to social media. I do think there are positives to posting about your location online. It keeps your friends and family up to date with what you’re up to.

I think it’s great when people add their location on an Instagram post, especially when they’re overseas. Not only does it allow for them to remember where they were when they go back looking on their social media profile, but it also allows their follows to know where they are, and give them insight into the location. However, this is where surveillance issues come into play, because people are posting about being away, it is basically promoting that your house is possibly free, which is when crime such a breaking and entering and theft can occur.

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Screenshot Geotagging photograph from my Instagram profile @ashleighnegri by Ashleigh Negri, 7 September 2016

Sloane & Morgan (2015, p.2) state “from a social science perspective this location data is incredibly valuable as it enables us to establish the geographic context”. In a way this is something that is somewhat of a marketing advantage, because people are basically advertising their location to their followers.

With the increased rise of social media, geotagging has become a trend which has also increased as people are obsessed with letting everyone know what they are doing, and where they are. Humphreys and Liao (2011 p. 409) state “one increasingly popular trend in social computing is tagging, the ability to annotate online material or digital objects”. This is extremely evident online nowadays.

Tweet imbedded from my Twitter profile @ashleighn2495

You only have to look at Instagram and Facebook, and see people posting locations on their pictures, or posting a ‘Check-in’ status.

It is almost inevitable that geotagging has become popular, as social media sites are somewhat encouraging people to post this information.

Van Laere et al. (2014, p. 221) states “the advent of mobile devices has gone hand-in-hand with an increased interest in geographic information retrieval”.

Van Laere’s (2014) statement presents the advancements of technology of mobile devices, which is evident when I look at my camera roll on my iPhone and it can tell me what location I have taken a photograph, and at what particular time it was. This is what I find quite scary. Essentially if your phone can find out where you are at a particular time, what else can they find out.


Screenshot from my iPhone camera roll ‘Collection’

With the increased use of social media, and the obsession with showing people where you are, geotagging is something that will continue to become more popular and used at a higher rate. Surveillance will still continue to be an issue because of how public people can make their ‘location’ known.


Reference list:

Humphreys, L, & Liao, T 2011, ‘Mobile Geotagging: Reexamining Our Interactions with Urban Space’, Journal Of Computer-Mediated Communication, 3, p. 407, Academic OneFile, EBSCOhost, viewed 7 September 2016.

Sloan, L, & Morgan, J 2015, ‘Who Tweets with Their Location? Understanding the Relationship between Demographic Characteristics and the Use of Geoservices and Geotagging on Twitter’, Plos One, 10, 11, p. e0142209, MEDLINE Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 7 September 2016.

Van Laere, O, Quinn, J, Schockaert, S, & Dhoedt, B 2014, ‘Spatially aware term selection for geotagging’, IEEE Transactions On Knowledge And Data Engineering, 1, p. 221, Academic OneFile, EBSCOhost, viewed 7 September 2016.