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Anonymity and Us

What is anonymity? Simply put anonymity means without a name. How many times have we as a society wished that we could remain anonymous? Many times we do have reasons for wanting to remain that way since depending on the society in which we live making certain comments or “liking” certain articles or groups online can lead to persecution. But today, let’s focus on one aspect of anonymity: how does being “nameless” help us as individuals?

While reading today, I cam across this article Facebook’s Randi Zuckerberg: Anonymity online needs to ‘Go Away’. It was interesting to read that Facebook, one of society’s leading social networks believe that anonymity should no longer exist and they have taken steps to reducing it. Guess Facebook is not that bad after all! But why do persons even want to remain anonymous on Facebook? Facebook hardly leads to any form of persecution. Or does it? Bullying is one of the biggest ills that young persons in society has to deal with today. Let’s imagine a young person who has been constantly bullied all through high school. All he wants is an outlet to “be somebody else”. To be this “real cool kid” who is popular with the ladies, have lots of friends, has muscles and a cute face with no acne. What better way to be that person than to create a Facebook profile with a photoshop picture on it. Is he wrong for wanting to do so?

Maslow’s Heirachy of Needs demonstrates to us exactly what people want from the internet. The basic social needs that persons desire are self-esteem, friendship, achievement, self-respect, confidence and to some extent sexual intimacy. Anonymity gives us the ability to remain nameless. See the connection yet? By creating a ‘fake’ profile this young man can create an alter ego where he is everything that society accepts. He oozes confidence, looks good and can speak with people who would never speak to him under normal circumstances. All of this just from sitting behind the screen of a computer. But there is also the downside to him being anonymous. He may now take it further and bully the students who bully him every day. He now has the opportunity to use this alter ego to shun or even let these bullies experience what life is for him. He may soon become the very thing he didn’t like about the others.

Whereas we all want the internet to provide us with that sense of security, being anonymous is not always healthy. Sometimes we need to find happiness n security within ourselves before relying on social media to do so for us. Being nameless is not always good even at the times when it satisfies our social needs.

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China, Google, Censorship

So once again my news feed comes alive with an interesting story related to discussions we had in class! While reading today and pondering on how hard it would be for someone like me to live in China. Personally I LIVE Google. Like a drug addict I’m a Google junkie 🙂

SO here goes. Like I said I cam across this article today: Google to shut down China music download service. I imagined myself in China already limited by the amount and type of searches I could make using Google. I may not be an avid user of Google music downloading but if push came to shove there is a possibility that I would use it. So how do I let go of Google? Reading through the article I realized that Google does have a valid reason for wanting to shut down their Google download music service. After all, it is in no way as profitable as they intended it to be and financially that money could be used elsewhere. With so many restrictions already placed on how much Google should censor the use of their searches, keeping a service which does not profit them as much is in no way beneficial.

The question arises though: Do you really not know what you’re missing if you’ve never had the opportunity to experience? To someone living in China, who is new to the internet and Google, does not having the full capability that those of us in the Western world enjoy really matter? What if we had never heard of the restrictions the Chinese placed on how much censorship Google should use, would we be bothered by what we use? But on the other hand, can you really protect your people from all the things that the Internet provide? Does it even make sense to place so many restrictions? I guess the questions go on and on since for those of  us not having to deal with it we find it such a strange concept.

I think the bottom line is: Many of us won’t last a day without all the services Google provide. I know I won’t!!

All about Facebook

So the most interesting thing happened this morning and I wanted to share it with you. I was going through my RSS feed as I do every morning and this article jumped straight out at me which I think you should read also: Police captures sex offender after his girlfriend ‘likes’ their department on Facebook

As I read through this article I thought to myself: this is a prime example of how Facebook and our privacy go hand in hand. Not only did they capture this guy (thank God) but its the method by which they went ahead to finding his location. They used her the geographic stamp left by her ‘like” in order to accurately pinpoint her location. I am happy that this guy is now off the street and his girlfriend, who was harboring this fugitive, will face charges for her actions. But it makes it so much scarier knowing just how they accomplished such a feat. Geographic stamp? Did we know that every page we “like” or maybe even every status we “like” gets a geographic stamp?? Was that one of those tiny lines in the ten pages of Facebook privacy notice? Whereas this system can be considered beneficial to us, it leaves the mind to wonder just how this can be used if it lands in the hands of the wrong person. It also shows just how careful we have to be with everything we post on social media sites such as Facebook.  This almost feels as if every status, every “like” is like a letter we send out with a pretty 60 cent stamp and a rubber stamp of the sending location. Scary but true.

 

Oh My Privacy!!

So at our last class discussion we talked about ethics and how it affects the use of the internet.  Ethics may mean a system of moral principles. But does being ethical mean just what society or culture say it should be?Let’s look at one aspect of ethics: Privacy. Let’s narrow it further: Privacy and Social Media. Is it ethical for social media to constantly invade our privacy?

Many complain that social media such as Facebook has totally invaded our privacy. The constant changing of the privacy laws on Facebook poses a problem for many persons since everyday it seems that there is something new on there. In our class discussion we talked about the constant Ads which now plague what used to be a very fun and social environment. The way in which these Ad companies can get easy access to our information may appear to be very unethical. One may wonder what are the possibilities of what they can do with our information. But hey! at the end of the day don’t we all have a choice on whether or not we want to use these social media sites?? Yea its fun to sit and look at persons pictures or read their status updates but is it okay for Ad companies to be part of that browsing experience??? Many of us may say no or wish that we had the option of eliminating them from our browsing experience. But think about the other side of the coin: Money is being made because of these ads on our Facebook page!! So is it ethical for us to bid for Facebook to remove these ads at the cost of someone else losing out on part of their income???

How many of us have joined all or at least one of the games on Facebook?? Farmville? Castleville? Mafia Wars? We all want to enjoy that imaginary and virtual life. We willingly open ourselves to these games..we click and share with our friends yet we wonder why we can’t get rid of Ads?? At the end of the day I will always be of the opinion that we as a people who constantly complain about infringement of privacy have opened ourselves to every one of them. We want to enjoy the fruits of their labor…we want to be able to look at every one of our friends photos on Facebook or read persons tweets on Twitter..we jump up at every new social networking device that comes along yet how do we not expect to be constantly bombarded by things which appear to infringe on our privacy. If we look outside the box we will also see that many of these social sites give us the opportunity to change our privacy settings. We have the option of who sees our photos or statuses on Facebook!! Yes its time consuming to constantly have to go through editing these settings every time a new update comes out. But guess what?? We want to enjoy the freedom it gives us don’t we?? Maybe…just maybe what we need to be aware of is: what we post..how we post it and what we can do to safeguard ourselves from to much information about us getting out!!

Here’s an interesting read: The Internet Destroying Privacy

Still a social media fan! Tweet this!! #IntSoc

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There’s so much to do so little time. Welcome to my world where people co-exist with other living organisms in equilibrium. Geek?? Maybe!! But there is nothing better than seeing organisms come “alive” on plates and a microscope! 🙂

NobleAlyssum

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