The assigned readings on the Internet covered a wide range of topics, from the early days of development to fairly recent concerns about privacy and identity online. I read the Kelly piece first, followed by Rosen’s, then had a look at Post Secret before ending with “Breaking Up in a Digital Fishbowl.” One passage from the readings, in Kelly’s piece, seemed to resonate through each story I read:
“With the steady advance of new ways to share, the Web has embedded itself into every class, occupation, and region… In part because of the ease of creation and dissemination, online culture is the culture.”
Online culture has disseminated much faster than anyone seems to have anticipated. I think that’s why we’re now seeing so much concern over privacy and how to navigate this new form of culture. In the beginning, no one would’ve thought what they did online would matter ten years in the future. Now it does, for better or worse.
Because the Web has permeated so many areas of our lives, it seems to me that one of the best solutions to our worries about the Web being unable to “forget” (discussed in Rosen’s piece), is to exercise a little restraint and discretion as content producers and practice the ability to readily forgive as content consumers. For example, one should really think twice about posting questionable photos to Facebook, because there’s no controlling who might see it. Likewise, if someone does post such a photo, the people who see it shouldn’t be so quick to pass judgement on what that photo says about the poster. Chances are, most of us have posted something online at one time or another that we’re not proud of now. We must keep this in mind when looking at the content that others post.
The fact that the Internet is only about 20 years old is absolutely astounding. Each new technology as caught on faster and faster, taking less time to reach more people. The spread of the Internet happened virtually in the blink of an eye. What I find really interesting is that I was alive while this was all going down. My early days were the early days of the Internet as well. As I’ve grown up, so has the Internet. I’ve seen it change and adapt and evolve. Almost all of human knowledge is now online. Textbooks, novels, movies, stories, maps, almost anything you can think of you can find online. The Internet has also changed the way we buy things. No longer do you have to guess about the quality of a product. You can research thousands of reviews, hand pick the perfect product, and have it delivered to you’re doorstep. And I agree with Kelly, I think we are only just beginning to explore the unique opportunities the Internet will bring to us. It’s also crazy what kind of weird and dark stuff you find on the Internet. It’s a dark and scary place, as the confessions on PostSecret proved. It’s scary to think that so much dark and inappropriate stuff is available at the click of the button to innocent children such as my young cousins. The Internet is scary, but I can no longer imagine life without it. It’s so worth the risks.
In "The Web Means the End of Forgetting," I agree that the Internet has become the place for not only documenting life events and private information, but for sharing it with the unknown world as well. The article quotes, "According to a recent survey by Microsoft, 75 percent of U.S. recruiters and human-resource professionals report that their companies require them to do online research about candidates, and many use a range of sites when scrutinizing applicants." On the employers' side, I think they have a right to check out future employees through online social media sites because they can provide a lot of information on what type of employee the candidate will be - such as their professionalism when talking amongst friends. However, I have to agree on the side of the future employee and other candidates that online social media sites should be a place where you can connect and communicate with friends and family however you want. Although you should have the freedom to share pictures and information however you wish without being scrutinized by future employees, the Internet has grown to be a place with underlying privacy issues. This makes me think of how there is always some sort of "price" with advancing technology, it may not always work in your favor.
"The Web Means the End of Forgetting" was kind of a wake up call for me. I've heard stories of employers using Facebook and Google searches to find more information on potential employees. But I never knew that people were working to create technologies for "digital forgetting." I guess I never realized how seriously intrusive the Internet can be. I understand that as a kid, you can make mistakes and post inappropriate or unprofessional things online. And although college is a time when most people do their most inappropriate acts, I wonder why we feel this panic for what we share online. I'm extremely careful of what I post, and although there are pictures where it's obvious I'm at a bar, I don't find them inappropriate. I never post statuses with swear words or other questionable content. I personally would feel extremely comfortable if an employer wanted to search my Facebook page. I also belong to an organization with strict social media guidelines.
I also question the idea that we are held back so much by our digital past that we are unable to learn from our mistakes. I'm not sure if this is entirely true, and I would like to hear more arguments in favor of this. I don't know how many people go back and look at what happened or what pictures they posted three years ago. Maybe once or twice for fun. But things from our past don't constantly come back to haunt us, in my opinion.
These articles remind me that the line between public and private continues to diminish and I believe we are near the point (unless you remove yourself from social media) all that is private is really public. I knew that many employers check social media as a means to evaluate a candidate however when I reading that 75% of recruiters are using it to evaluate potential candidates, it shocked me. I did not realize it had proliferated that far. So in the midst of reading "The Web Means the End of Forgetting," I had to google myself. I had done this a year previously as a class assignment and found exactly what I expected to find my facebook page, a couple of old things from my high school years - nothing exciting. But this time, a year later, I was shocked to see how much more I had found. Now every social networking site I had been a part of (including myspace which I hadn't used since High School and forgot I had, along with a twitter I forgot to close) were among the top results. Nothing that would be detrimental to employment but so much more than before. Previously, I believe there had been 5 or so relevant things, but in just a year there is 17.
In my case, I am lucky that there is nothing detrimental, but with such transparency and ease of access to my information as search algorithms improve, it really makes the idea of internet forgiveness or forgetting appealing. The amount of information people are able to gather about me just by simply entering my name into a search engine is unnerving.
I found that the articles “The Web Means the End of Forgetting” and “Breaking Up in a Digital Fishbowl” were extremely relevant to one another. To begin with Rosen discusses how easy it is to gain a bad reputation on the web and have that reputation follow you long after it is first uploaded or posted. It’s kind of incredible to see to what great lengths people will go to to protect their reputation online, but I suppose in an age where potential employers can easily google you and find all your information, it’s critical to present only the best side of you. This makes me think of advise one of my journalism/editing professors gave to our class. He recommended that you should have a professional Twitter account and a private, personal one so that you can gain authority in your field but not be judged for all the dumb or weird things that you want to tweet. I also found the break up essay interesting because the online presence of relationships adds yet another set of etiquette to maneuver through. For instance, I have some friends on Facebook that I’ve blocked so that we’re still friends but I don’t have to see their status updates or posts. However, I didn’t want to just delete them because I didn’t want to completely alienate the relationship. It gets confusing!
I had actually read the article “The web means the end of forgetting” before. When I read it for the first time, I was shocked and I felt so bad for that woman. But in today’s society, when you post something online, it is public knowledge. And the thing that is so hard about personal regulation is that you cannot control what your friends post about you. It seems like everyone has to document everything from taking pictures to video taping a night out. On Facebook, even if you untag yourself, the pictures are still online. As for the “Breaking up in a digital fishbowl” article, I can totally relate to many of the points presented. I have gone through it first hand and have seen my friends go through it. I think it’s harder to go through the digital media scrutiny than anything else after a break up. In one relationship I had, I actually found out he had a girlfriend while dating me through Twitter! The Internet and digital media is definitely both a blessing and a curse.
With this hyper-connected world we live in, I am unsure if we have fully adapted. While some depend on placing every detail of their lives on social networking sites, some could not have access to a site to be dependent on. This alone speaks to our poor adaptation. These sites are meant to connect us all, they are meant to be used to display our lives and share ideas, but not all of us use the web in this way. Examples of the success of social networking sites and their ability to connect people to one another can be found in various forms of organizing. Many of the current social movements rely heavily on social networking sites to organize people who support a movement. Does this mean that those who use this technology will be ahead of those who don't? Could the immense amount of virtual infrastructure we are building be detrimental to society as we are becoming so dependent? What if it fails?
I find it incredibly interesting the backlash against business and commercialization of the web during its formative years, and see echos of that happening even now, but in quite the opposite direction. I never knew that the web was required to be entirely commercial free up until 1991, and the idea of betraying a new frontier, like putting a billboard up on the moon or something, is very intriguing. When I think of the internet, I can't imagine a space without at least some sort of commercial ideals or marketing, with ads and adblockers becoming the norm for people, it just seems like an almost different world. The idea of the lack almost equated the web by its early developers to the garden of Eden, with the encroachement of business as the fruit. I can definitely see where those people worried that the top companies in the world had the power to own the internet were coming from, now in a time where the government is attempting to put through bills to mandate what websites are and are not allowed and how people are allowed to view those, as well as the ISP's connection to this. For business is definitely an influence on all those steps, the government with lobbyists, the ISPs with their business and ads. I don't think we'll move towards an entirely business nor government dominated internet sphere, but the worries still ring true today.
I have mixed feelings about the article, "We are the Web." It was historical, insightful and irrelevant all at the same time.
It offered great insights into the precursors of the Internet. I hadn't heard of Vannevar Bush or Ted Nelson and their early work on hypertext. I thought it was odd that nowhere in the article did it mention Tim Burners-lee, credited as the inventor of the World Wide Web.
Its commentary on the progress of the Internet in the first 10 years is relatable and relevant today (eight years after this article was published). The phenomenon of user-generated content was truly one of the great successes of the Internet and continues to be today. No one can predict when or how a technology will be adopted by the masses and how it will grow and evolve over time. Looking back at the purpose and origins of the internet as a non-commercial tool of the NSF, how would anyone predict that it would become ubiquitous and part of daily life of billions of users.
Given that the article was written back in 2005 - only two years after the launch of the itunes store and within the same year YouTube was founded - it is hard to read this article without thinking about how out of date the facts and figures are. Its description of the "god like" aspects of 2D and 3D mapping technology is quaint compared what has been accomplished since then. Its awe at the rapid growth of blogging is nothing in comparison to the growth video blogging/file sharing on YouTube, not to mention the other video/file sharing tools.
What is missing in this article is the role "infrastructure" technology played in making the Internet as successful as it is. If it wasn't for the rapid increase in connection speeds - from 14.4 kb/s dial-up modems to 13gb/s cable internet - the Internet would have remained a hobby for teenage boys and computer geeks.
The Wired article was a terrific piece spanning the ideas of the internet from its inception to a possible future. Being that the article was from 2005, the predictions for 2015 are nearly here, which is hard to believe. I enjoyed gathering some more information on the internet before modern technologies and advertisements.
I was moved by the idea of the Web OS being the only thing we would need. It has turned into, as the article said, machines allowing us to peer into The Machine as though they were a window. It has become that way, as each machine we own is used to view much of the same content. This reminds me of the current movement of Google Chromebooks. These netbooks are essentially a lightweight computer that run Google Chrome. The entirety of the machine is to use the browser to get whatever done. This has fully made it a window, rather than a separate entity like an offline machine with its own programs.
The web has really changed since the Netscape IPO, and I was never aware of that point being a shift, as I was only two years old at the time. As I grew up though, there were always browsers and inter-connectedness. The ideas of hyperlinking and advertisements are so familiar to me that I would not have seen them as a revolution. The hyperlink is truly an amazing technology. The metaphorical brain and nodes that the internet is, is highly appropriate when the hyperlink is looked at.
After reading these articles on the internet, it was pleasing to read some articles with optimism for the possible future of the internet, and our society as a whole. The most captivating of the four was "We are the Web," this article was specifically interesting because of the idea that the internet is a machine that mimics a brain. This idea was interesting not because it seems far fetched, but actually because I have reached the same conclusion when thinking about the internet myself. It seems that in all our technologically invention we have finally created the perfect surrogate for the human brain. While, it is not fully developed at the moment eventually it would make sense that the internet starts to learn, and eventually will be what we turn to, to provide with the answers to all the unanswered questions. It reminds me of the book A Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by John Adams. In this book a civilization invents a computer that is so powerful it can answer the greatest question in the universe, "What is the meaning of life?" And it seems with the internet that this will be the unintentionally direction we are heading. The internet will eventually know everything there is to know about the human race, and earth, so it would only make sense that we eventually turn to it to figure out answers to questions that would be humanly impossible to answer.
This page contains a single entry by Capper Nichols published on April 10, 2013 11:05 AM.
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