Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Online Assignment 4/5_Heyler

Online Assignments 4 & 5
Sydney Heyler
J201- Section 310

            I found this assignment to be very insightful and eye opening.  It was interesting and quite surprising to learn how much information the Internet has collected about me over the years.  Every time you enter a search into Google or post something on Facebook, you don’t consider the fact that it’s being documented and used for other purposes.  Every minute detail has been stored in some way. 
Despite entering almost no personal information about myself on my Google profile, Google seemed to know plenty.  Google knew my age group, the fact that I am studying Spanish, many of my interests and more.  There wasn’t anything listed that I can’t say describes me to at least some degree.  I was rather impressed and slightly troubled by the accuracy of it all.  I can’t help but feel slightly “watched” over the years as I utilized Google; it was an important thing to be brought to my attention.  You can’t be ignorant of the fact that nothing that you do on the Internet is private.  The fact that Google can utilize this information to target advertisements at its users is quite simply genius.  I now know that if I see an advertisement for American Football or a travel website it’s because Google knows these are interests of mine and is fully utilizing their data.  I can’t say I blame them, but I can’t say it makes me totally comfortable either.
            My Facebook data was also very interesting to explore.  The information that Facebook had was a bit less shocking since much of it was based on what I have entered/updated on my profile over the years.  What was surprising was the amount of information Facebook had.  I was able to find content about my life from years ago, things that I have completely forgotten about.  It’s amazing to see that Facebook knows your history better than you do.  Facebook doesn’t forget that status posted in 2008 or the private message conversations from the ninth grade.  It has all been documented, recorded and saved forever.  While the thought of that is interesting it is also a bit unsettling to think that a website might just know you better than you know yourself.  Absolutely nothing that you do online is private, and nothing, no matter how many years ago it was, is forgotten.

            This assignment has definitely shifted how I view my Internet usage.  We truly live in a digital society, where nothing is private, and much is known about you without your knowledge.  It was so interesting to see this information brought to my attention and to bear in mind that every time I click my mouse, enter a Google search or post a Facebook status, it is being monitored, recorded and tracked.  While I will not drastically change my Internet behaviors, I will still keep these thoughts in mind going forward.  The digital society is a powerful world and deserves respect for the knowledge it has and influence it exerts.

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