Tag Archives: internet

Process Post 9 – Data Trails

As, Suzanne Norman (2015) reflects, “so much for the data trap.” In the Bezosphere of 2019, data governs decisions, policies and movements, but as everyday web civilians, what does our trail mean? How do we contribute to analytics, and as such, how does our online behavior dictate what we see, what is created and how, as bloggers, we design, re-design and promote what we post and share?

In the past month, Google Analytics has shown that ReRouted has had 28 users, 63 sessions, 28.57% bounce rate and an average of 5 minutes and 58 seconds spent on the site. This bounce rate is considerable, particularly now, as it’s significance was discussed in tutorial, and I hope to believe its due to my content and not just family members and friends reading a couple pages of this blog. The average length of a session seems to match the length of a post or two. So, it makes sense having these two analytics do ‘well’ in terms of an amature blog.

As noted by the Pod Academy (2016), our blissful lack of awareness in leaving breadcrumbs of ourselves online is something we’re not entirely aware of, and unlike brick and mortar libraries and bookstores, what we touch is counted, assessed and re-presented to us as marketing chameleons. Our blogs then, become digital shapeshifters; responding to what is required in order to elicit activity and move users towards content that generates data we like to see. The question is, does Google utilize analytics as a kind resource for bloggers and developers alike, or is it a self-serving service that gives them access to ours, as well as our readers’ information? Moreover, does this matter?

Here, Brian Mac Namee (2016) suggests that yes, we leave data trails everywhere we go, but this is the world we live in, and like other things we have come to accept, we must forge ahead and understand that there are consequences of convenience. Further, he argues that data trails do not equate to a dystopian now, but rather, these are algorithm breakthroughs that are exciting from the perspective of science. On Apparel, Venkat Viswanathan (2017) agrees, but from a consumer perspective; we are leaving an identifiable residue of activity that teaches us about consumption, impulsivity and behavior. Is this ethical? I’m not certain I am the right person to suggest either side of the fence, but in living within a digital world that targets my interests, shares my data and influences what I see, I offer my implied consent.

This begs the question; are we aware of what we are contributing to; this murky pool of data? If we apply the concept of implied consent, can our understanding suggest to the omnipotent social creators like Google, that we accept all ramifications of dropping data behind us for the collection and interpretation of others? Alternatively, what factors jeopardize implied consent, such as age, ability, demographic, disability, etc? Do people really know what they’re getting themselves into, and if they do, is it too late for them to wash the trail behind them?

Is our information public? This question has been of contentious debate, which you can read about here, but in consideration of our understanding of the Internet as a public space, we should, as we would in a mall or library, be aware that our activity is not private. Education and awareness is fundamental in providing society the tools, or at least the knowledge, that our actions are observable, and while less pervasive, our purchases have always been recorded. So, are Google and Amazon the culprits of this contention, or is it capitalism in general? We are quick to blame technology, but like a race to the finish, we’re always pointing fingers at whomever crosses the line first.

Week 10: Internet For All

I remember seeing the Internet.org advertisements on the bus stops. They were everywhere. It was a call to have internet for all. I remember the ad wanted to give voice to areas that didn’t have internet. It wanted to connect the great minds and make it an equal field for the passionate ones. Until I read Mike Elgan’s The surprising truth about Facebook’s Internet.org for the class this week that I was reminded of that advertisement and, knowing Facebook’s reputation, I’m not surprised to find out the truth.

Internet.org, instead of connecting people with harder access of the internet, is actually just bringing in more people to sign up to their platform. They’re not interested in connecting people. They’re interested in the data that’s being surrendered. Now called Free Basics, Facebook targets countries that charge internet by the minute. They also take these users away and put them in Facebook’s own servers as a way to ‘save data usage’. They keep the users in Facebook in disguise of connecting them because they want to take complete control of their internet use and box them in using Facebook services. I like the metaphor that Elgan uses. It’s like giving a poor person a free sesame seed and claiming credit for giving them a free Big Mac.

This is important to speak about because these are multi billion dollar companies playing with user information. There’s no reason to fully trust these companies because they’re in for the business. If they claim some altruistic interest, it’s probably going to earn them money. Social networks have been controlled by capital and it will continue to take advantage of our use if we don’t question it. When I read this article, I consciously forgot the good and hope I felt when I saw the advertisement. I needed to be critical and realize that the ad played on my emotions and feel goodness. It just wanted to take my information. And by being critical and aware, I remember the ad for what it is, not what it was selling to me.

Process Post 9

This week, guest speaker Juan Pablo Alperin posed several interesting questions to the class. First, he asked us to envision a future that sees the decline of Facebook and to elaborate on what kind of changes or shifts would lead to this decline. Next, he asked us to reflect on the constraints that Facebook imposes on us as users and to consider how these constraints influence our behaviour online. In this response, I will address the initial question.

Imagining A Future Without Facebook

Professor Alperin started off by addressing the common misconception that the Internet and the Web are the same things. To my dismay, they are two distinct concepts. I have been using the terms interchangeably for years. The shame. The embarrassment. I will address this question with the newfound knowledge that there is, in fact, a distinction between the Internet and the Web. The “Internet” refers to the physical structures that connect the online world, while the “Web” describes things like HTML and hyperlinks that comprise the core technology of the web. Therefore, Facebook is an application that uses the Internet’s infrastructure.

Every empire falls eventually. Social media platforms and applications are no exception. At one point, Nexopia was the leading social networking platform. Today, most people would give you a funny look if you told them you were on Nexopia. Eventually, the next best thing comes along. Old social media platforms are replaced by new ones that do the same as the last and more. Some applications even integrate popular features from existing applications, such as how Instagram has implemented “Stories” that were initially seen on Snapchat.

Keeping Users Within The Application 

Ultimately, all social media giants will fall, but for different reasons than the last. We all learn from our mistakes, and sometimes, we learn from the mistakes of others. Again, social media platforms are no exception. Current platforms have looked to the mistakes of former giants and quietly avoided making the same mistakes. For example, Nexopia failed to consider that hyperlinks would re-direct users to external websites and in turn, decrease its amount of traffic. Now, applications like Facebook and Instagram redirect users to pages that are opened by the app rather than a separate browser – a subtle ploy to keep the user within the app. At this point, Facebook has avoided some of the problems that other networks have encountered. So what will lead to Facebook’s demise?

Will Privacy Concerns Lead to Facebook’s Demise? 

Giving up personal information is a requirement of using Facebook. But at what point does this become an issue?

Today, Facebook fell as much as 8.1% to $170.06 in New York (Time, 2018). This decline comes after reports that users may have had their data used improperly. Cambridge Analytica, the data-analysis firm that helped Donald Trump win the presidency, was able to obtain and misuse personal information from more than 50 million Facebook users. The company’s shares show that users are not happy.

Facebook stock, March 19th, 2018. Source: Google.

It is evident that privacy concerns can be detrimental to a social networking site, even one as large as Facebook. I think that if privacy concerns arise in the future and users become aware of any misuse of personal information, then individuals may become wary of using Facebook. As a result, Facebook may be replaced by a social networking site that is more transparent about users’ privacy.

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Vol. 8: Process Post

The internet is too important. Important for jobs, for me, for life.. I wonder how life would be without it. But, I never want to imagine that ever.

We were asked last week what we do with our last hour of internet. Though some of us did the usual “download all my music, photos, files,” etc., I realized I cared more about how it connected me to people. It was seemingly a lot of the reasons why I still keep in contact with a lot of my friends or people that mattered in my life. If it weren’t for the internet, how could I really keep in contact on an almost real time basis with my friends and family who live across the world?

I also was never the person to collect everyone’s numbers, either. And I have had multiple instances where I needed to contact someone and I didn’t have their number. If it weren’t for the magical internet, I would have never been able to have contact them. So what would I do in my last hour of the Internet? Go through the people that I contact with all the time online and don’t have their contact saved on my phone.

Let’s not forget how much I love to online shop (this blog is all about my fashion style, of course!). There are always tabs left on my Chrome of clothes that I found on online shops that I wish to purchase, but did not bite the bullet just yet. This time, I would bite the bullet for all the last things I wanted, because most of the times the clothes I buy are only available through online distribution. Isn’t it fascinating how much I need the internet to keep up with my style, though essentially, there is no Internet needed to wear clothing? The way it has revolutionized what we do, how we interact with others, how we shop, and how we learn is explore is so crazy that it almost frightens me. If we evolved this fast, just imagine what the internet and being connected to others through the “web” really means.

Though this will probably be mostly touched by my essay, we even get our news from the online world. Millennials such as myself aren’t looking on the television for our news; we’re looking online. We care about what our friends are sharing, what they care about, what they’re talking about it. We live in a world where our network, online, is powerful.

This leads me into another interesting point of how much power we have due to the Internet. Nowadays, restaurants and food places are under very tight scrutiny due to the way customers can last out at any second. We all make mistakes, I know, but one could cost you your entire business. And what’s scary is the fact that we can have the power to do that with a single post after feeling that we didn’t receive “the perfect service” or “was wrong.” I understand sometimes that the restaurant owners could actually be at fault, but most of the time, it is just a misunderstanding. It’s hard to forgive at first, but a lot of times, it’s even harder to forget.

’till next time, homies!

Community Guidelines

In light of past, recent, and unfortunately continuing stories of people being harassed online, it has come to my attention that guidelines must be established if there is to be a comments section.

Maria Konnikova (2013) writes about the ‘online dishibition effect’, which is basically where the moment in which one sheds their “identity the usual constraints on your behaviour go, too”. This is especially true in cases where users can comment anonymously, which may encourage participation, but has just gone to increase uncivilly and incredibly negative comments.

I would like to encourage participation, but it seems necessary that I point out that there is a fine line between free speech and hate speech. Due to some of the sensitive topics that may be discussed here on this blog, it might be beneficial for these guidelines to be understood before writing a comment:

No racism, sexism, or any sort of hate comments whatsoever.

No promotional comments unless previously validated through the admin beforehand.

Any violation of these guidelines will prompt the removal of the comments by admin. Comments are taken down if admin doesn’t think it contributes to the conversation or is irrelevant or hateful in any way, or threatens other readers or authors. If there are any questions, please email the admin for more information.

When it comes to people’s safety, some form of filtration is necessary. If a comment is not constructive to a conversation, it will not be included. I love to hear feedback and opinions on the matter. But in a space that is supposed to be one in which people should come to for positivity in an already hate-filled world, I need to establish this before my website goes further.