Foursquare was a mobile social networking application that enabled people to share
location with friends in the form of “check-ins.” The visualization of surrounding
known social connections as well as unknown others has the potential to impact how
people coordinate social encounters and forge new social ties. While many studies
have explored mobile phones and sociability, there is a lack of empirical research
examining location-based social network’s (LSBNs) from a sociability perspective.
Drawing on a dataset of original qualitative research with a range of Foursquare users,
the paper examines the application in the context of social coordination and sociability
in three ways. First, the paper explores if Foursquare is used to organize certain
social encounters, and if so, why. Second, the paper examines the visualization of
surrounding social connections and whether this leads to “serendipitous encounters.”
Lastly, the paper examines whether the use of Foursquare can produce new social relationships.