Accepted Paper:

Tweeting through the city: digital mobility and the tactics of walking  


Anthony Buccitelli (The Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg)

Paper short abstract:

This study argues that the integration of "locative" media into the everyday tactics of movement through urban space has reshaped individual spatial practices and renewed the possibility of creating of what De Certeau calls “local legends.”

Paper long abstract:

This study argues that the integration of "locative" media, highly localizing digital technologies, into the everyday tactics of movement through urban space has not only reshaped individual spatial practices, but also opened up new digital spaces for the renewed creation of what De Certeau calls "local legends." By using mobile devices to access digital annotations on virtual representations of physical space, such as Google Maps and Earth, people make choices about where and how to travel based on information about local spaces that they receive digitally. At the same time, through locative social media technologies such as Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare, many users now track their own physical movements through urban space while simultaneously discussing these movements with other people. This emerging expressive dynamic in everyday life creates a situation of double vernacularity, in which users articulate their own personal tactics of walking, while also engaging in a process of social discourse and narration that itself can reinvest urban spaces with social meaning. This overlay of vernacular social discourse onto the everyday personal tactics of walking in the city reinvigorates the possibility that these tactics might serve as meaningful resistance to spatial power. Ironically, however, by integrating these tactics with institutionally-produced technologies, this process also more deeply links our everyday practices to the hegemonic forces that it proposes to contest.

Panel P18
Expressive culture and identities in a digital age