Story in a Cup: Exploring Place-based, Physical Social Networks — A case-study of Starbucks

In this work, we explore Starbucks cafe within the campus of an American University to enable a place-based, physical, story-sharing network for the student community. Specifically, we used different physical objects at the cafe (like furniture, upholstery, etc.) as containers for ephemeral stories, saved and retrieved by students. Being centrally located in the University campus, the Starbucks cafe is bustling with students, who come there to get caffeine, finish casual work, meet with friends, or just kill time between the classes. Overall, the place manifests the shared experience of being a student (at the University,) and hence is of a special value to the student community. We utilized this value to speculate on a social network that builds on identity-based commitment between the visiting members. This work was accepted at ACM DIS 2019; published article can be found here.