Friday, December 13, 2013

Online Assignment 4&5_CHO

Growing up in the digital age, most people have heard of the capabilities that some companies have to keep track and record your data usage. I have been taught to be weary of my digital footprint since I was a kid. I remember my middle school would conduct online awareness meetings in conjunction with the police in the grand old days of Myspace to teach us that everything we post or put up online is there forever and recorded. I can only say that seeing for myself firsthand of the records Facebook and google keep on me is an eye opening experience. I was not aware of the extent to which my web surfing and social network activity has been recorded. Google and Facebook have very different data recording techniques which are interesting.
                Google has an interesting perspective on who I am from a digital perspective because almost all my web surfing starts at the google search platform. With this ability to observe my search history as well as my web surfing tendencies google has ample amounts of data to make fairly personal inferences on who I am in real life. The ad settings page of google produced some interesting and sometimes entertaining inferences on me. Google inferred I was a male which is accurate and makes me think what information they base this assumption on. I was placed in the twenty five to thirty four age bracket. This is almost accurate, being nineteen years old; I am in the age bracket just under this one. Google made the inference that I speak English as well as Russian. I found this assumption particularly amusing because what data led to this information? I speak English and Korean, not Russian, and to the best of my memory I do not browse or search Russian news frequently. The interests category depicts me accurately and I can clearly see the connection between my search tendencies and determining my “interests”. The list contains 39 specific interests which for the most part I am interested in. I thought this would be useful to advertisers as potential specialized advertisements directed to me and my specific interests. The data that google has accumulated on me have no direct effect on me directly because there is not much use of this data beyond advertising; however, the general issue of online privacy is a worrisome issue especially going into the future.

                Facebook maintained an elaborate database containing all of my pictures and general activity on the social networking site. This was less shocking to me because I was always aware of Facebook’s data compiling methods. Again it becomes more real seeing all the data records of you in front of your eyes. Ultimately being able to observe what large corporations do with your personal information makes me think twice before posting or commenting and my overall online activity.

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