Sunday, January 28, 2018

Digital Footprint? Menza menz.

Let me preface all of this with a definition of the Italian (American) slang word, menza menz.

So, this guy defines menza menz as meaning something like "maybe, maybe not." I've always understood it to mean a somewhat non-committal, "what are we gonna do?/there's nothing we can do." Which, either way, is how I feel about the topic of my digital footprint.

Sure, it makes me nervous. Sure, I worry that we will become 1984 and every step will be tracked by the government, and every movement watched. But honestly, what can we do? I like action, I like definitive answers, and right now we don't have one. That means that we have two options: 1) Live off the grid, or 2) accept it. Right now, as far as we know, the things that track us are only doing to to have a profile of the things we buy for advertising purposes. I have nothing to hide, I have no reason to be afraid, so until I have a real reason to be concerned, menza menz

That being said, as I mentioned last week, Brett Gaylor's Do Not Track documentary is fascinating to me. Even though I don't feel moved to do anything about the things tracking my life, I like to know that they're there. I like to believe that Google has some supreme purpose for me. And, if not, I hope they enjoy my online purchase history of makeup, books, and clothing. 


I chose to annotate the article "How-- and Why-- Apple, Google, and Facebook Follow You Around in Real Life" by DJ Pangburn. Much like Do Not Track documentary, the article talks about all of the different apps that collect location data, and speculates the use for such information. Truly, it is nerve-wracking, knowing that all of our information is laid out there for the makers of apps to use as they please but, again, what can we do? The most interesting discussion is the discussion of the police needing a warrant to access cell phone data which, as I annotated in Hypothesis, is an issue for which I can argue either side. On the one hand, cell phone data can reveal a lot. If you have no reason to feel worried, why would you care if the cops had access? An equally compelling point, on the other hand, is that they should require a warrant, because of privacy rights. 

In regard to the information about Apple, Google, and Facebook tracking your location, I like that the article discusses some ways around this but ultimately, they're unsustainable. You can keep your location off until you need to use your GPS, and then what? Even if you use a GPS that isn't connected to your phone, some company, somewhere, has access to that information. 

All things considered, the content of this article was interesting but we live in a networked world. One way or the other, you can be tracked down. I suppose you can make it easier for people to find you, or more difficult but, as of now, I don't see a way around Big Brother. 

Tweet Frequency:
My fiance tweets a lot more than me:

Daily Digital Alchemies-- 1/23/18 through 1/29/18:

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Back in the saddle!

The time has come to dust off this blog and dive back into NetNarr. It's good to be back in our world, and I'm excited to see what this new semester has to offer. As I mentioned in class, this will be my third time around the block in ENG5085, "New Media Studies," then "Digital Storytelling," and now "Digital Alchemy/Networked Narratives," and each time I have learned something new and exciting about the digital world. I'm especially excited this semester about accompanying new students on their journey.

A word of advice to new students-- this may seem like a lot at first, and it may seem completely weird, but rest assured, you'll fall into the swing of things quickly. A great deal of this class involves making it what you want it to be, which is really cool! If you feel so inclined, check out older posts on this blog to see some of what I put together last year at this time. You'll see that there is nothing to be afraid of.

One of the craziest things I've learned from taking many trips down the Internet rabbit hole is that the internet knows a whole lot about me. It knows my interests, my friends, the products I like, and is able to suggest things that I will, in all likelihood, be interested in pursuing. I'm sure everyone can relate to the feeling of your skin crawling when the product you were just talking about is the first search suggestion on your phone. Or, when you Googled a product you were interested in buying, only to have it show up as an ad on every website for the rest of eternity (or, as an added bonus-- when you look up a gift idea on a shared computer and the ads ruin the surprise....gotta love the World Wide Web).

As you will learn about me this semester, I am fascinated by all things dystopian, and this idea ties in directly with the concept of an all-seeing, all-knowing government using me as a cog in the wheel of consumerism. In fact, Do Not Track reminds me greatly of my favorite books, Feed by M.T. Anderson. In this story of a futuristic Earth, all people have social network data feeds installed into their minds, and live life through the lens of constant communication and advertisements. M.T. Anderson masterfully translates the eerie feeling Google knowing your search query into an entire society, which ends up being terrifying to all involved. After watching Do Not Track, it's horrifying to see how close Feed comes to being reality.

I am so excited that we are going to talk with Brett Gaylor. Do Not Track is fascinating, and terrifying, and I look forward to hearing what he has to impart to us.

Daily Digital Alchemies-- 1/16/18 through 1/22/18: