Blog #11-Technology’s Impact on our Everyday

Saying that I need technology on a daily basis would be a bit of an understatement. Just like the dad in the second article that we read for the blog entry I would say at times I am a tad bit “overconnected.” I love to take pictures of just about every thing I do. Whether it is of my food at dinner when my girlfriend and I go out to eat, or texting my girlfriend all throughout the day when I am at work, or at school, and while she is at home or whatever the case may be. I constantly am checking on Instagram and Facebook for the latest posts and pictures because of my fear of missing something, which in all honestly I never do. Why do I care so much about what other people are doing? It all relates back to the first article, I suffer from FOMO, fear of missing out. In all honestly I could care less what some random guy from high school that I haven’t seen in years is posting on Facebook, or pictures from Instagram, but for some reason I am wired to look every 15 minutes. The first thing I do EVERY SINGLE morning when I wake up is check Instagram to see what I missed over night. After that I instantly head over to Hoops Hype which is my favorite NBA rumor website where I catch up on all the news that was tweeted out over night, and the pictures that the NBA stars tweeted after the late night games. Then I head over to the NBC Sports blogs to check out the latest NFL, NBA, and College Basketball news. This is all stuff that I could live without seeing, but for some reason I can’t get enough of. Throughout my entire workday I have Facebook up, chatting with some of my close friends or my dad. I am endlessly browsing the same websites over and over again, Hoops Hype, NBC Sports, Walter Football, CNN, and WHAS11; just to see what news I have missed. My life revolves around the Internet and information, and just like the first article talked about, sometimes I get information overload.

Throughout this past week I tried to map out which day I was going to “disconnect” from my iPhone, MacBook laptop, or whatever technology I had around me, because I wanted to find a time where I knew nothing was going on. This was my first mistake, and honestly you should fail me on this assignment for that. Finally, Saturday afternoon got here, and I said you know what I am going to leave my apartment and not take my cell phone with me. If my Mom knew that I did this she would seriously have killed me because I wouldn’t have been able to get ahold of anyone if something happened, but it was a risk I wanted to take for once. I decided I would go on a run with no music, no phone, no cares in the world. I would then come home take a shower and go get some lunch by myself with no phone and just see what it was like. Honestly I can tell you it was HELL at first. I wasn’t used to not having music when I worked out because I always have music, it’s what gets me through my run, not focusing on how bad it really sucks. I got back and out of instinct I went for my phone, but right before I grabbed it I thought twice. “Jacob, you can do this, there is nothing on that phone that you need to see,” I told myself. So I got ready and headed out for a quick lunch with no technology. I actually found myself enjoying the day. No one could get ahold of me and I couldn’t spend my entire time ignoring the world around me and browsing endless amounts of wasteful information that meant nothing to me. I found myself with this sense of clarity that the guy in the first article mentioned. I didn’t care what everyone else was doing, what party they were attending, or what food they were eating. I found myself ENJOYING my day and no one else’s. In this world today we get so caught up in what everyone else is doing instead of really trying to focus on our own lives and enjoying the fun that we are having. This was the first time in a long time I just thought about enjoying my own day and honestly it made me think that I could really get used to this if I put some effort into it. It took me a couple of hours to get used to not having access to my phone and Facebook and the Internet, but finally I realized why do I need to do this? When I got back to my apartment I started to read the articles that were posted on blackboard and it gave me all sorts of things to really think about. This was a great opportunity to me to think about my mom and dad growing up and how they got by with no cell phone. I could really do this, only if I tried though.

 

This class has really been such a great opportunity to learn about technology and how it can be used in such positive ways to influence our lives and how it can be used so negatively. I really love using my phone for internet and social media, but there is one thing I think about using it for above all us. I am a strong practicing Christian and I know that phones were put here for a reason and the same with social media. I should be using my social media as not a way to boast about my life and all the cool things I’m doing it, but as a way to reach out to those who don’t have God in their lives and really try and show them just how great He can be. And that is the only positive that can come from social media. The class has shown me that there are so many negatives to social media and things that I really want to stay away from. One thing that really stood out for me during our semester with Professor Esrock was the privacy issues that come along with the internet. I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE to think that there is always some one out there following my every move on the internet and Social media because they want to sell my information to advertisers and Big data companies. I don’t think that is right, nor do I think that should happen to anyone. It made such an impact on me that I thought do I really need social media? Is it worth looking at all these peoples lives that I really don’t care about, and run the risk of my information being stolen or my name being sold to some one who just wants me to buy something? The answer was no! But I do like having my Facebook and Instagram for the reasons I mentioned above. I think it is terrible that we are being sold as products to companies who just want to make money, and to me that is what is wrong with this world and why technology is not good. I also learned throughout the semester just how big of an impact technology has had on our society. Who would have thought that there were theories on technology and all kinds of information, enough to teach a full class on it, WOW!! We have come such a far way from fire, horses and no technology. I think our society has developed into a bad place because of technology. Anyone can use technology seriously just for about anything and if that doesn’t scare you I don’t know what does. Everything is becoming digitized! They want to put my medical history on the web, and my drivers license, and track my license plate to know where I am at all times, and to me that is a complete break of the privacy laws we have today. Of course we have gotten great medical advancements from technology. We talked about some of the self-driven cars that are being developed by Google, and the technology that is working on helping humans not age, but is this something that is really helping our society? I love that we can use technology to help people hear again, walk again, and able to live normal lives, but we cannot escape the realities of the world using technology. I thank you Professor Esrock for the great opportunity to learn from you and all the information you have been taught in your years in technology, and I think that this class is a great learning tool for us college students. It is a way to find some positives out of technology and how we can use it for the better.

Blog #10-Big Data

This week while going over the lectures in class on privacy really has become the first time I have put any thought on my personal privacy and just who is tracking me and what I am doing. I have never taken the time outside of setting my Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram profiles to private, to really think about who’s watching me. Just by looking at the ads on the websites I get on, I can tell my data is being sold, because ads like Amazon, Regus (where I work), Sporting Equipment, etc. pop up as things that can be sold to me, but I never really looked into how these ads were so personalized, until this week.

After the lecture on Monday about “Big Data” companies I did a little research into Axioum, and the other companies who may be following me as I browse the web and what they could know about me. It was funny that Professor Esrock made a statement that went along the lines of “these companies know more about you than your mom and dad” and honestly the more I looked into it the more it was true. I just imagined every website I got on, there were those little tracers that was shown on the 60 minutes video of who was tracking me and honestly it freaked me out. I have never really been “concerned” with who is tracing me and what they may be doing with my information because I never post anything on my accounts that would be traceable, but now I am going to take action. For a brief moment on Tuesday I considered deleting my Facebook, and cleaning up my browsing history, but I thought to myself what would that really do? They can still follow my internet history, and sell my information even if I do delete my accounts, because like we saw in class the privacy settings on Facebook change based on what Facebook wants to sell. As I saw in the first article that was posted on blackboard, no matter what I delete, or turn off, or who I trust, my data will be traced, my browsing history will be monitored and my data WILL BE SOLD. I think why? Who really cares what I do, I’m not hurting anyone, or looking into things I shouldn’t be. But it’s all about having accountability for people (including myself, your average White American) and being able to SELL my personal data to advertisers, who want nothing more than to sell me anything they have and make more money. That’s what it’s all about, MAKING MONEY for them. If you think about it, we as Facebook users are not the ones they are worried about, they are worried about anyone who wants to buy advertising space for them, so they are technically selling us as their “product.”

I have been an avid social media user since I was about 13 years old like I talked about last week in the Social media blog. At first growing up I didn’t really know the ramifications of what I was posting and honestly I would post anything that popped into my mind that I thought was cool or that would make people laugh. As I have grown up and gotten more mature, and realized how private my life should be I have become smarter in what I post and who I allow to see my profile. It took years of hearing stories on TV and through the internet about the kids who would post that they were home alone, or where they were going and having weird creepy men stalk them, and sometimes even kidnap them. For the longest time I would say “that would/could never happen to me,” I was ignorant and thought I was invincible, but after years of growing up and encountering certain situations I quickly got over that and realized anything could happen to me, I am no different than anyone else. The first situation where I realized I was posting things I shouldn’t be was my senior year in high school; I shared this story the other day in class with our classmates and Professor Esrock. Like most of us do, I was partaking in illegal things, things that could easily get me in trouble with not just my parents but with the police. I thought that since I was on Twitter and my mom only had a Facebook that I could post whatever I want and she would NEVER find out. Boy I was very wrong. I posted about what I was doing, and how it made me feel, and just how “cool” I really was. I remember like it was yesterday, I came home one day after school and saw a big stack of papers sitting on my table, and next to it was a home drug testing kit. I instantly knew that I was trouble, but I didn’t know what the papers where until my mom came out of her room, with a very very alarming look on her face. She had been searching the internet that day with her friend, who also happened to be my best friends mom and they wanted to take a look at our Twitter accounts because they didn’t have any other access to them. At that time, my account was not private and anyone could see the tweets I was sending out about the illegal things I was doing. She had printed out all my tweets and went through reading them one by one, and at the end I expectedly failed the over the counter drug test. This was the first time I thought that maybe I one, shouldn’t be tweeting about smoking and drinking, and two that my twitter & Facebook accounts should be set to private. I don’t think people realize how easy it is for not just parents, but school administrators and future employers to access your accounts and see every post you’ve ever made. The bottom line is that why do you even want to share the most private things with the world? That’s the whole point of privacy, and today nobody really cares about that. Social media has been the death of privacy and nobody treats it with the respect that they should, and they wonder why they can’t find a job! I asked my boss this morning about when they hired me if they took a look at my Facebook and Twitter, and he said yes that was one of the first things they looked at and there was nothing that was red flagged, but if that incident with my Mother wouldn’t have happened when it did, who knows what I would have been doing.

We as citizens really need to start thinking to ourselves when we are browsing the internet and posting things on to Facebook, “would my mother want to see that” or “would my employer be okay with that being public,” and if the answer is no THEN DON’T DO IT, it is really that simple. I know when it comes to these Big Data companies stalking us that there is not really much that we can do, we really can’t “opt out” but what we can do is be careful with what we do, and who we allow to see what we are doing. Big data is a big business and they are going to continue to try and hack into our computers to learn as much about us as possible, but we can stop them from seeing things they shouldn’t by simply not doing them. Remember Would my mother be okay with seeing that?

Blog #9-Social Media

 

 

Social media has been a constant in my life since late middle school until today as we speak. I started off using a social media site that until the other day I didn’t even consider social networking, that was AIM. My first screen name was “CanJimmyPlay213” (look up the video can jimmy play, it was a Gatorade commercial, funny stuff back in middle school) I then jumped from AIM to MySpace where all I ever wanted was to be in as many people’s Top 8 as possible. Social media for me was a way to show off my popularity and looking back on lack there of. I think as a kid in middle school all I wanted to be was popular and be friends with as many people as possible, even though that really wasn’t the case at all. I then made the jump from MySpace to Facebook, which was something I wasn’t very excited about at the time. This was the first time in my long history of Social networks that I was hesitant of using a different site. I didn’t know what Facebook was besides the few things my sister who was in college at the time told me; I didn’t want to get away from MySpace because that’s what everyone else was doing and at the time all I wanted to do was fit it. I think that social media and social networks have really turned into people just wanting to fit in, and show a different side of them. On the internet you can make yourself into anybody you want to be, and that is something that people will see and it could maybe make them think differently of you. I then went from Facebook to the most popular social media there was at the time and that was Twitter. Again I was hesitant because at that time I had been using Facebook for over 5 years, I had really developed a liking for the site and I knew how to operate the ins and outs of the website. Twitter was a whole other ball game, and for me 140 character limit was the stupidest thing I had ever heard of, and it really forced me to try to be clever which is something I am not.

          Social Media has really had an impact on my life in both positive and negative ways. I remember in early high school I actually went through some cyber bullying, there was a couple of kids that were in my group of friends who really liked to make fun of literally EVERY single thing I did on Facebook. Whether it was a picture I posted, a status I updated, or a comment I put on somebody else’s wall, and the thing was there was nothing really I could do about. Did it bother me? Yes absolutely, it made me feel like I wasn’t as good as everyone else. Did I let others see that it bothered me? No, why would I? I wanted everyone to think that I was this big tough dude, who wasn’t afraid of anybody. This is where I really started to hesitate with what I did on social media and honestly I’m really glad all of that happened. Looking back on things in high school and the early part of college I wanted to try to show people that I was somebody who I really am not, and honestly I think that is what people use social media for. You see all these girls posting selfies of themselves all made up, and looking good. But then you see them in person, and it’s almost like, what the hell happened to you? You don’t look anything like you do in your pictures. Now my whole purpose of using Facebook and Instagram is to build relationships with the people I am already friends with. In High school I wanted to have as many Facebook friends as possible so that others would like at my page and think wow that kid knows a lot of people, how do I not know him? Maybe they would add me as a friend and want to get to know me or whatever. Now I use Facebook to talk with my dad and my brother who both live all the way on the opposite side of the United States in Washington. I use it at work to talk to my friends who I am really close with, or whatever the case may be. I take pictures on Instagram so my mom can see pictures of what I am doing, or so my closest friends can see what’s up with me. I don’t want people I don’t know to see what I am doing because to me, if I want you to know what’s going on then I’ll tell you. So for me I don’t use social media anymore to update the world on what I’m doing, or to pretend I’m something I’m not, I use it to build the relationships that I already have made.

          Social media is becoming too much of a game, a game that I really have no interest in playing. It can really become an escape from real life communication and for me as a communication major that’s not something I want. I think that people can hide behind these sites and use that as a way to make people think a certain thing about them, that maybe they wouldn’t think if they met them and were really friends with them outside of that. I use Social media as a way like I said to build my existing relationships, use it as a way to get information from the pastors at my church, or from news stations like WHAS11 or CNN, to keep current on sports issues, which is a hobby of mine, and to listen to music and that’s it. I think that social media can have a positive impact if used for the right reasons, like finding jobs, enhancing your connections, building relationships, listening and finding new music, catching up with sports, etc. It can be detrimental to society because of its’ escapism and because it doesn’t really teach you to be able to communicate face-to-face.