Understanding Social Mapping

by Barbara J. Feldman on April 24, 2010

Social mapping is fairly common these days. It’s something you should be paying more attention to as social mapping is complex and there’s a lot you need to know to fully understand what it is and how it affects you. Here are some things you can do to better understand social mapping and how it affects you.

When people, more specifically marketers, gather information that helps them identify people and their online activities, it’s referred to as social mapping. If you use the internet at all, it’s more relevant to you than you think. It can affect how marketers and the media interact with you. Information gathered to create a social map for a person may include the websites they visit, the amount of time they spend on those websites and the ways they use mobile devices. All of this information can be used by all kinds of people to track what you do and what you are likely to do given a specific set of circumstances. While this type of information is normally harmless, it can become powerful and dangerous in the hands of the wrong people, which is one of the reasons why it’s important to understand social mapping.

Being connected is a big part of social mapping; however, there is much more to it. The way you use social media is important to marketers because many sites such as Twitter and Facebook exist to connect people and give them an outlet to stay in touch. It is important to keep in mind though that these sites are run, and supported financially, by businesses who want to give you information that is relevant to your life as well as the products and services you are likely to buy, based on information they’ve gathered about you. Have you ever noticed how many websites know what you are searching for and make product and service recommendations, based on the content of the page you’re visiting? It’s not coincidental; it’s the result of businesses using key words and social mapping to market specific sites and products to you.

Many people also use social media to stay in touch with each other and coordinate schedules and plans. For example, someone sends a text message or message on Facebook or Twitter that says, ‘I’m going to get sushi tonight. Want to come?’. A discussion about whether to go and where to meet might follow. These tools can be a great way for people to get together. However, should a person want to avoid someone or something, social media sites can help there as well. These scenarios are starting to happen with increased frequency, especially among younger people who increasingly rely technology to stay connected and to communicate with one another all the time. As a general rule, it’s important to be aware of how much information you’re providing for public consumption; keeping that information vague is also important as people with bad intentions need not know where you are or what you are doing. It will also keep you safer in the digital age and prevent social mapping from affecting you too dramatically.

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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Understanding Social Mapping." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 24 Apr. 2010. Web. 2 Oct. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/1521/understanding-social-mapping/ >.


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