Getting Creeped out by Big Data

Happy #throwbackthursday the “OMG I’m so OLD” edition.

 

In Tuesday’s class we talked a lot about “Big Data” and our thought on it. Going into our session, it was so intimidating this word “big data.” You see it all over the news but never really understand what it means. Essentially, it’s your online information used to track trends in what you’re searching and viewing online to “customize” the internet to your specific needs. For example, if you’re looking for new furniture for your house, you go to a website, look around, and decide that you don’t want to purchase anything in at that moment you can go on Facebook and you’ll see an ad for the same furniture store with a photo of the same furniture you were just looking at. Creepy right? Doesn’t it constitute as stalking?

On the flip side, if you’re a business owner you can use big data to help improve business by collecting this information from your customers and catering to their needs. A lot of big companies such as Target, Walmart, Old Navy, etc use big data to make constant changes to their floor layout and the “sales” that they run.

So what are your thoughts on big data? Is it creepy or is it something that we should embrace?

How much technology do you use?

This week we had the opportunity to delve deep into our technology habits and how often we use one medium over the other. I love me some Netflix, but I never imagined just how much multi-tasking I did. I realized that I can’t watch TV without my phone, or use my computer without my phone. I pretty much can’t do anything without my phone.

All of this self reflection has been a huge wake up call. How have I gotten to this point where my life revolves around technology? How is it that when I have all of these different devices in front of me, I have to use every single one? The truth of the matter is that technology has become a crutch for me, giving me the opportunity to zone out of my “reality” and focus on something entirely different. It’s given me the opportunity to be a part of everything and nothing, all at the same time. What does that even mean? It means that I can do so many different things, all at once, yet not retain a single thing. It means that I’m so busy trying to document everything for social media, that I miss out on what made that moment special.

Truth of the matter is that I’ve become so absorbed with what’s on my phone or in my computer that I’m missing out on special moments with friends and family. The fact that I spent an entire beautiful, sunny, Sunday inside watching Netflix and playing games on my phone upsets me, because I never used to be that person. I think sometimes you need to step back and appreciate what’s right in front of you instead of worrying how many “likes” a picture can get. So if there is one thing that I have to take away from this week, it’s that I need to focus on living my life instead of sharing it on social media.

What is the Internet?

#throwbackthursday

The ever important question. What exactly is the internet? This was one of the questions asked in our class on Tuesday and truthfully it’s such a difficult question to answer. The dictionary defines it as  a global network connecting millions of computers.*  But is it really that easy to define the internet? I mean, is it really something that can be defined? Short answer: no. Long answer: how much time do you have?

In our class this week we had the opportunity to work in groups to discuss what functions we use the internet for as a communication tool, what our thoughts were on this Newsweek article (if you haven’t read this article, stop reading this and check it out), and of course answer the hard question of what is the internet. What really blew me away was how many different answers these simple questions could get. Some groups took a more personal approach, giving their answers an almost emotional tone, while another group was very mater-of-fact and listed the uses of the internet. Although all our answers took on a different descriptors, most of us used one word to hit home our meaning of one way to describe what; tool. The internet is a tool that we use every day. It’s a tool that helps us communicate with anyone, anywhere, at anytime. It’s a tool that has become a way of life.

Looking back at the Newsweek article, written almost 20 years ago, it’s almost laughable how the author portrayed the internet and what he though would become of it. But I’m curious as to what will become of the internet 20 years from now. Are we going to be laughed at by students in a comm class about our thoughts and ideals? I can’t wait to find out.

 

 

1. Beal, Vangie. “Internet.” What Is the ? A Webopedia Definition. Webopedia, n.d. Web. 30 July 2015.

Run, technology, Runnnnn

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Question: Can we as a society, keep up with technology?

Answer: HP

It’s such an interesting question to because I have never sat down and thought about the possibility that I will have to chase technology. And it’s such an obvious thing to think about now, but of course I’ve been chasing technology. I’ve been chasing it since logging into the internet involved having to sit for five minutes as your computer made that awful dial tone noise (you know the one I’m talking about). Of course I get the new iPhone every time it comes out. Do I need it? No, but I don’t want to feel like I’m not up to date with what’s new and cool. And that’s why we are constantly going to constantly going to be running. And honestly, that’s the only time you’re going to see me run.

So why are we chasing technology? I think it has to do with wanting to seem like we’re “cool” or that we’re somehow successful if we have all the new gadgets. I’ve known people who can’t afford to pay their rent, but they have the newest phone or the newest tablet, laptop, you name it. It’s a perception that we’re putting out there for the world to see this side of us that isn’t true to who we are. I’ve always wondered if having such easy access to celebrities and how they live their lifestyle has affected the things that we want to achieve in life. Can seeing all of the amazing things that they have access to in turn, make us want to have those same things? Maybe even if it’s subconsciously.

Will we ever stop chasing the biggest and newest thing? I don’t think so. I think as long as society and media progresses and new and shiny things come out, we are going to want to chase it. Because we’ve become a society of instant gratification and if we can be the first to get something, then we feel like we’ve made it.