Thursday, December 19, 2013

Online Assignment 4/5

The entire process of seeing my Facebook and Google data was quite troubling to me. My Facebook archive was in some ways less surprisingly troubling than my Google profile. The experience makes me think more about my digital presence.

The only part of my Facebook data that truly surprised me was the amount of information included about each picture, and how accurate the information was. Every picture in my Facebook data archive included the make of my camera, whether it was a Canon EOS 60D or an iPhone 5, the ISO speed, exposure and many other little details in each picture. It also included the IP address I uploaded every picture from, which surprised me. My only question was why Facebook was recording this information so in depth, what it said about me as a user, what they do with the information. I was also interested in how Facebook presented its data archive. It included separate pictures, and then an index of the photo album that included details about the photograph and comments it received on Facebook. While seeing so much accurate information about my actions being so accurately logged and given back to me is odd to me, it is also not as surprising as a whole. The data Facebook presented back to me was all taken from data I had personally and willingly uploaded to the site. Although I am sure there is other information Facebook gathers, the data in the archive was not as scary to me.

The Google information, on the other hand, was a little more troubling to me. My basic demographic information was correct, which was not too surprising. The things that Google listed as my interests, however, were a little more troubling. Google listed beauty & fitness, colleges & universities, computers & electronics, coupons & discount offers, fashion & style, games, humor, make-up & cosmetics as my first few interests in that order. I was a little surprised that Google listed beauty and fitness as my primary interest because I do not think I go to many websites about fitness. I did initially guess that the beauty part of it came from my recent online research about certain beauty products I was trying to order from Sephora, a makeup store, but then I noticed that make-up and cosmetics is another category. I do not think that beauty and fitness are my primary interests. I am also surprised that colleges and universities is a secondary interest of mine, but this could be because of my extensive research

The whole idea of being aware of my digital footprint was introduced during my college application process. Friends and parents warned me that colleges and future employers would look at Facebook profiles and reach conclusions about people based on their actions on social media. While this claim is not completely true, it does worry me that every move from my awkward middle school Bebo account to my latest Tweets contribute to my permanent trails in digital society.

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