Mobile and Social Location Based-Service Use

A study conducted as a part of Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project found that 28% of American adults surveyed use mobile or social location-based services. The study was based on the results of a survey of 2,277 Americans 18 and older conducted from April 26 to May 22, 2011. It considered using “mobile or social location-based services” as either using cell phones to get directions or recommendations based on their current location, checking into locations using geosocial services such as Foursquare or Gowalla, or having social networking sites, such as Twitter or Facebook, automatically include your geographic location in posts on those sites. Together, 28% of respondents said they at least one of these activities either on their cell phones or online. Among all adults, 23% get location based directions and 4% use geosocial services. A larger percentage (28% and 5% respectively) of adult cell phone owners do both of these activities and an even greater percentage (55% and 12% respectively) of adult smartphone owners do each of the activities. Among adult Social media users, 14% have automatic location-tagging on posts. The study also found that several demographic groups, in addition to smartphone owners, had above average use of the different location services. Younger smartphone owners (ages 18-49) were more likely than those 50 or older to get location-based directions on their phones and use geosocial services. Also, Black and Hispanic participants reported greater usage of geosocial services and automatic-location tagging in posts with 25% of Hispanic smartphone owners using geosocial services and 31% of Hipsanic social media users using automatic location-tagging.

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