‘You’re virtually there’: Mobile communication practices, locational information sharing and place attachment


  • Didem Ozkul University of Westminster, U.K.




Mobility is a fact of contemporary everyday life. Especially, in big metropolises everyday life revolves around a continuous movement, which serve the need of catching up with the fast pace of metropolitan life. Such mobilities can alter our perception of space and time, leading us to think of distances as shrinking and places becoming closer. This leads to material, social and cultural reconfigurations (Bærenholdt and Granås, 2008) and reinforces the question of distance and proximity in maintaining social and familial relationships. Today, face–to–face social interactions are supplemented with what Urry (2007) calls imagined presence. This imagined presence, or “the transport to a virtual place” is ‘affected through the images of places and peoples appearing on, and moving across, multiple print and visual media’.. This paper discusses what happens to imagined presence when those images are mobile, geo–tagged and shared within a network. Do mobile and locative media practices enhance our sense of place by triggering a “nostalgic ode to home” and displacing us from the co–present situation? Or, do they foster bonding with places by creating a sense of belonging and by enabling us to carry our existing social relationships wherever we go? In order to answer these questions in this article, the relationships among social production of space, mobility, imagined presence and sense of place (place attachment) are analysed drawing on the findings of two studies conducted in 2011 and 2012, in London.

Author Biography

Didem Ozkul, University of Westminster, U.K.

Ph.D. candidate at the Communication and Media Research Institute at the University of Westminster, U.K.




How to Cite

Ozkul, D. (2013). ‘You’re virtually there’: Mobile communication practices, locational information sharing and place attachment. First Monday, 18(11). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v18i11.4950