Can we have privacy if we use social media?

We can have privacy if we use social media depending on the information you choose to divulge online. If you use social media you could choose to use a pseudo-name, an avatar and not release your own personal information, it is your own choice to provide the information that you release on your profile.

I use caution upon releasing information online, even on secure websites such as Facebook. I never “check in” to a location and remove location settings on my photographs before I post to Instagram or Twitter. I never status update anything that I would not wish a potential employer to see unless its on my Twitter or Tumblr using a pseudo name. I do however have a personal Tumblr account where I chronicle my personal highs, lows and experiences of my job, however no information about my name, the particular place that I work or any of my friends is ever given.

I have been using social media websites starting in early high school. My first experience of social media was using the pet website “Neopets” (www.neopets.com) which is aimed at pre-teens, its a website which allows users to have virtual pets and collect points via games to buy virtual items for their pet. I used “Guilds”, a type of group to meet people online and chat with them via Microsoft Messenger, however I never gave any of my personal information.

My next experiences with social media came via myspace.com. At that particular time in high school I was quite emo and gothic and used the site to meet others in my area that were the same. I closely monitored my online profile and took many “selfies” showing new piercings, hair styles, clothing items etc. I edited my profile to look much the same as other people within the same social group and closely edited profile information such as my favorite bands, movies and tastes. Later, I started using the website Vampirefreaks.com, a social media website aimed at more gothic/alternative youth, I joined groups for other people in my area to meet other gothic people my age. I attended meet ups and made friends online.

Bad Myspace Selfie

Bad My Space Selfie

My later experiences with social media came a few years ago, while living in Japan in 2008/2009 I began to be interested and where Gothic Lolita fashion and Japanese Metal. When I arrived back to Melbourne I really wanted to make friends with people who had the same interests as I did, my hobby consumed my entire life. I searched online and joined a group called EGL via Live Journal, through this website girls arranged meet ups in their area and sold used items. I eventually joined the smaller Melbourne Lolita Community, made up of roughly 170 members and started to attend their meet ups. In the 4 years that I have been in this community I have made countless numbers of new friends that have more in common with me than the ones I had previously.
As much as I would not like to admit it, social media has effected my dating and relationships. In this scenario, I do not think I am the only one. My first boyfriend found me by commenting on a photo on Myspace.com, which at the time was bright pink. My second boyfriend I meet in Cherry Bar during a gig, but later stalked me down on an event page and through mutual friends and started to chat to me via Facebook. My now boyfriend was a friend of a friend, who I saw at a club but embarrassingly so I was too shy to speak to. Therefore when I had a little too much to drink, stalked his Facebook page, added him and sent him a message. Although this is all slightly embarrassing, I admit that I would be quite lonely without social media.

For better or worse social media is apart of our lives, regardless of whether you choose to participate or not. I think its very important that you a knowledge and value you own privacy, but this is not something that will go away despite your opinions. After all I am sure we all love a little bit of Facebook stalking, regardless of if its a previous lover or a classmate that who moved away in grade 5.

Is Google making us Stupid?

Without getting too much into the way one interprets “intelligence”, you have to consider that there are different ways one can define intelligence, and therefore, stupidity by association. though it is ludicrous to believe something that brings so much information accessible to be anything but beneficial- we have to keep an open mind to the effects to which it has on our way of thinking. The “way we think” is probably a less ambiguous debate than the topic of stupidity. Having said that, the way we think has most certainly changed. In a time before the internet/ Google, it is not illogical to assume memory retention was more valued in a  way someone thinks. Due to the relative difficulty in finding the right information, in the right source, at the right time. In one fine sweep, the internet has made values such as memory retention and attention in general, to be less relevant.  At a click of a button you can find the right information, in one source, at any time you want. And thus, memory retention might not be prioritized as being as important as it would have been. but that doesn’t mean we are getting more stupid. Just indicates our brain is evolving to utilize cognitive functions in a more effective way; take away our need to retain information- and we will concentrate cognitive powers into other segments of our mind. However, this is only true should the internet be our ONLY source of information.  If the internet were to be used as a be all and end all of your thought process than we are merely regurgitating information. rational thought has to chime in at some stage, and that requires working memory/ memory retention.  There are some that would have us believe that online search aids such as Google and the web in general are effectively hindering our cognitive functions to some degree. In short, making us stupid (or more so than we would have been). Mr Nicholas Carr would be right in this regard if, as stated earlier, the internet was your sole chain of thought. the fact of the matter is, the internet is NOT  making us stupid. How can it? when it is a just a source of information. The onus lies on us to know what the internet should be used for, not to replace cognitive function completely- but just as a tool. a tool used to attain raw data in which WE can apply rational thought to and interpret ourselves. fundamentally, only the uneducated would suffer from the use of the internet/ Google.

Is Google making us Stupid?

Is Google making us stupid?

  • Has it affected our ability to concentrate?
  • Consider Carr’s argument, do you agree?

Google and the internet is not in particular making us stupid, however it is changing the ways in which we retain, absorb and use information. The internet is always at our finger tips, therefore we may not feel the need to remember basic fast that we take for granted. However if we can not remember the information we are not making sense of it, breaking it down or building on our basic knowledge base. It’s impossible to be able to explore or have new discoveries without a knowledge of the pasts of such information. For example, you can’t not invent a new computer program without a basic knowledge of how computers work.

If you consider an optimistic point of view Google could also make us smarter, Google and the internet could provide those of us without access to information via traditional sources, such as a community library or a university education the opportunity to learn and read information for free. For example if I decided to learn about Economics I would be able to Google the topics and read explanations about the information.

Carr’s argument, that Google is taking away our need for a deeper meaning is a rather pessimistic view of Google and the Internet, even if Carr’s views maybe true the internet like many other technologies is not going away. Even Socrates objected to writing because it took away our reliance on our own memories to remember information. Rather it would be better for us to educate children about the importance of remembering information, making sense of such information and evaluating it for a more deeper meaning.

Are we more likely to produce more creative work in the era of Web 2.0 enabled participatory culture?

Due to the nature of web 2.0 and the rise of quasi-professionals we are more likely to produce more creative works, however this is perhaps limited to works such as blogs, photographs and v-log types of videos.  Social Media based applications such as Instagram allow us to take photographs, add filters, upload them and share them to our friends in a matter of seconds. Blogging sites such as Tumblr and Word Press allow us to share our opinions, thoughts and feelings online.

A secondary factor in the rise of creative output in Web 2.0 is the influence of celebrity, it allows people to have hundreds, thousands or even millions of followers without seemingly needing to be talented. From a naive prospective is that it allows regular people to be famous and followed by the rest of the world without relying on bigger traditional media formats, such as television that maybe difficult to gain a start in.