chapter  4
20 Pages

Ambient Intimacy: A Case Study of the iPhone, Presence, and Location-based Social Networking in Shanghai, China


Presence was a key concept in much of the early scholarship on the sociocultural uses of the internet. Drawing on this literature and the work of contemporary theorists of presence, and building on existing scholarship that has explored presence in relation to mobile phones, in this chapter we explore how the introduction of devices such as the iPhone serves to further underscore the continued importance of presence as a crucial concept in an era of smartphones. The ongoing signifi cance of presence in terms of smartphones is amplifi ed with geomedia, whereby the social is overlaid with the geographic and electronic. According to anthropologist Daniel Miller, social media such as Facebook “suggest further movement towards the smartphone, rather than computer-based integration and convergence.”2