Cyber Conversation and Privacy Interrupted

Module 2- Major Blog Post

”The little devices in our pockets are so psychologically powerful that they don’t even change what we do, they change who we are.” (Turkle, http://blog.ted.com/2012/03/01/places-we-dont-want-to-go-sherry-turkle-at-ted2012/)

This quote from Sherry Turkle in Places We Don’t Want To Go is important in starting to understand today’s technological presence in society. It is a rare thing indeed not to own a mobile device of some kind. The smart mobile device in your pocket holds everything anyone would need to know about you. You most likely have access to your Facebook account, your twitter account, and your Instagram, let alone your personal information connected to your phones account (i.e. your phone number, your address, your full name, and potentially a credit card number). Other than seeing business like people with a Bluetooth headset in their ear (looking absolutely crazy talking to themselves on the street), it is a rarity to see a cellphone being used for its original intention, MAKING A PHONE CALL! It is getting more and more possible for people to run their entire lives on their cellphones and other technology, and never have to blurt out a single syllable.

In this same article about Turkle’s TEDtalk, the author writes that “(t)here is a feeling that conversations are difficult because we don’t have the ability to edit as we talk, and so can’t present the exact face that we’d like to. (Turkle is quoted as saying) ”Human relationships are rich, and they’re messy and they’re demanding. And we clean them up with technology. We sacrifice conversation for mere connection.”” (Turkle, http://blog.ted.com/2012/03/01/places-we-dont-want-to-go-sherry-turkle-at-ted2012/). People would prefer to have an online relationship with someone, then to sit and have a real life, face-to-face, conversation with people. As I mentioned in my minor blog post last week, the concept of being able to edit yourself before making a statement online is one that people take advantage of. People in today’s society would rather have that option of texting each other, which can hardly be considered a conversation. When you text someone, the conversation is being broken up into small blurbs and blips, and often you aren’t giving that person your full attention. To have a conversation face-to-face with someone, you typically give him or her your full attention so to actually understand what he or she are saying, while being able to consider the tones in which they are saying something. All of us have been guilty, at some point, of misinterpreting what someone texted you. Whether it was supposed to be taken sarcastically and was taken seriously, or vice versa. Texting and e-mail does not allow for true conversation to take place.

This leads to another serious issue that is developing. Cass Giorgio wrote in her latest blog, “we are damaging our youth’s ability to self-survive…We are crippling our ability to be independent and act in our own skin, and therefore the rate of loneliness is increasing for future generations to come.” Since this texting phenomenon, the younger youth are not learning how to properly communicate. They grew up on social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter, and have always had access to a cellphone. They have developed their communication skills in an online sphere, and are therefore struggling to make solid relationships. I truly believe that online personas are a big part to the bully phenomena recent generations have been dealing with. We are constantly reading news reports (that likely pop-up in our newsfeeds online) about teenagers being bullied to the point where they attempt or succeed in committing suicide. Take into consideration the recent story of Amanda Todd, who was bullied online because of a leaked picture of her breasts, to the point where she committed suicide. A significant amount of this has the Internet to blame.

“Facebook allows anyone to put up any pictures or posts they feel like. Although you can set it so it doesn’t appear on your own “wall”, it is still up on Facebook for anyone too see. They do have the option to “report” a photo, but how are you supposed to report it if you didn’t even knew it existed?”(Marnie’s Blog). This quote from another student’s minor blog post is the perfect way to describe privacy implications that come along with having an online persona. There is no way to know who has access to your personal information. People have lists online of their friends on social websites and can be putting information you may not have approved on the Internet for all to see. This idea can be backed up by this quote:

“Online social networking can have a touch of private communication

to it due to its situational and mundane character, but mediated publics are obviously not private. This dilemma is, of course, a central part of the discussion concerning surveillance and privacy issues, and it is especially evident in connection with secondary uses of available information at social networking sites.” (Albrechtslund, 2008)

It’s a scary world, and not knowing who has access to you and your information is indeed a scary thought.

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