Thursday, December 12, 2013

O'Brien_Online Assignment 4&5

Erin O’Brien
Section 310
Online Assignment 4 & 5
            As we have recently discussed in lecture, digital media has now become a key factor in the way that our society not only receives news but also communicates and functions in every day life. Though we may often see online sites such as Facebook and Google as a simple means of social experiences and searching the web, these sites hold a greater inner agenda. This agenda involves following users’ online activity to find advertisements that pertain to their users’ interests. In searching through my personal data from Facebook and Google I discovered how accurately and in depth these webpages track my own online activity; further giving advertisers a fitting reason to advertise to me when I visit their page.
            Through obtaining information for this assignment, I discovered, more than anything, just how much personal information of mine is available through the Internet. Not only was an abundance of information available, but also I was surprised to realize how accessible this information can be to me, but with the rise of online hackers and bugs, to others on the web. Though I found it interesting to see just how accurate these websites were able to accumulate my personal interests just through tracking the websites I visit and pages I follow on social media, I found it troubling that if I ever wanted any sort of privacy on the internet, it would not be manageable. Nevertheless, I think that these websites do a successful job at benefitting their advertisers by collecting the kinds of information they work to collect.
            As mentioned in lecture, the rise of digital society has been envisioned to bring about democratization in society as a whole. I believe that there is a great amount of truth to this theory in the sense that everyone who has the ability to use the Internet has access to equal amounts of information. This gives rise to more people having the opportunity to be involved and knowledgeable about similar sorts of information to bring groups together and bring about community within society. Sometimes the effects of this democratization can be minor such as organizing fundraisers on Facebook while other types of democratization and unification seen through the systems available on the web were able to bring about the Arab Spring.

            Though the rise of the digital society has brought about many benefits such as bringing about community and making interactions with people across the world and information more accessible, I personally do not find it as a complete benefit to society as a whole. After doing this assignment I realized just how deep the Internet could dig into our personal lives. Though access to information for my personal benefit increases, so does the opportunity for others to access my personal information. This increases my skepticisms towards wanting to post information of mine to the web. However, because the digital society has become such a vital part of our cultural society today, the best way to approach my skepticisms are to be cautious of what I post and how much personal information to reveal to the rest of the society consuming information on the internet.

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