Mobile netware, social graphs, and the reconfiguration of space

Colin Agur, Salvatore Babones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Scholars are well-aware that the smartphone is much more than just a mobile telephone. A plethora of applications have been developed to run on smartphones, covering just about every aspect of human life. What is distinctive about the fact that these apps run on smartphones (as opposed to other kinds of devices) is that the smartphone makes them mobile (the apps travel with the user) and locative (the apps know the location of the user). As a result, smartphone applications that take full advantage of these characteristics have the ability to bring users together in real space and real time. The key to the success of such “netware” apps is their generation and retention of social graphs that connect their users both socially and physically. Netware apps like ride hailing that are built around mobility and location have the potential to dramatically restructure economic and social life by reconfiguring their users’ experiences of the physical and temporal world. We use ride hailing as a case study to illustrate how the new social geographies generated by mobile netware apps interact with physical geography to generate a new sense of space that can only be mapped by the companies that “own” our social graphs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-180
Number of pages18
JournalNew Media and Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • Globalization
  • locative
  • mobile applications
  • mobile communication
  • mobility
  • smartphone


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