Internet Stalking

Going into the assignment of looking into Professor Abdoney, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew that her academic background would most likely be online, but I wasn’t sure what else that I would be able to find. Interesting enough, I found a lot about how her personal life, including her relatives, her husband, and her child’s Facebook. It was also pretty easy to find her age, estimate when she graduated high school, and estimate the year she was born. Her past locations of her houses could be found as well as where she graduated high school, college, etc. While I was searching for any information on Professor Abdoney, a lot of sites for giving more information on her popped up. The free information would come with her past locations, relatives, and age, but it offered additional information if I wanted to pay for it. It led me to wonder how much more invasive information would come up if I had already been able to find where her son went to school.

Additionally, I was able to procure a basic profile of her political stance, finding that she seems to be of a liberal Democratic stance that openly supported issues such as literacy and feminism. I could also extrapolate that she often receives her news from Democratic sources including The Hill, CNN, and the Washington Post, following sources such as these. Only seeing retweets of Democratic opinions, I could see that this is most likely the bubble she lives in and the only articles she reads. I can see how people from the outside could easily stalk Professor Abdoney and be quick to label her into the boxes that society creates even though her online presence is not all that she is. I can’t for say sure that she lives in a bubble, but I can see the formation of “Echo Chambers” by scrolling through the retweets, likes, and comments on her tweets. A lot of the comments were by liberal Democrats fiercely agreeing and fighting anyone who did not agree with them. With one comment against the ideas of the post, were 10 other people supporting. While I can agree with the ideas of Professor Abdoney, I do not agree with outright attacking strangers who don’t support attacking the ideas of another human.

Looking at the information available to me about Professor Abdoney caused me to wonder how much is available about me and caused me to be slightly afraid. It’s interesting because following looking for Professor Abdoney, I began to receive ads through Google and Facebook for sites that would help me find people, or find more information about criminals, or reuniting families. If the amount of information that I found did not scare me, the ads did, constantly reminding me how Internet and social media  has changed from being a place of sharing pictures and fun stuff to following people, tracking clicks, and collecting data. Facebook is willing to release the information that we as people upload to pretty much any company that is willing to pay. Learning this has made me more conscious, but I think I will continue to put my information online in order to keep up with the way that the world works today. It also allows for me to easily participate in events and learn about events I cannot attend or would not have known about previously. By putting my information out there, I am able to actively help causes I believe in. I am glad that I learned how exposed my information is, and I have learned that I can either use what I put out there to my advantage, or it could be my detriment.

Perils of the Internet

Over the course of the day, the majority of my Internet use can be sourced to homework through my phone, though it is often required for classwork. Aside from the amount of Internet use for my homework, the next highest amount of time I use is for social media. Aside from Twitter, I am currently involved in nearly every kind of social media available, including Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. Instead of spending a certain amount of time checking my social media or texts, I found that I check it often, in short periods of time, nearly constantly, making it hard to track and causing me to realize that all the minutes add up.

This stands to be the norm for many modern day teenagers. Though it sounds quite cliche to to say that the world has become a sadder place that is constantly glued to their phones, there is a lot of truth to this. Personally, I have checked social media an average of about 4 hours a day. While I find myself being thankful for being able to connect with people, I mostly use it as a method of distraction, checking it mostly while I am doing work. Before I sleep, I often check it for hours, looking at funny videos or memes, preventing myself from sleeping (30 minutes before I sleep). This may be correlated to the perils and situations depicted in the Black Mirror episode, Nosedive. In Nosedive, the images depicted scenes of a culture in which social media and ratings from other members of the community represented one’s worth. It was all that everyone thought about, constantly watching their rates, never doing even work. If one had a lower rating, there were severe lack of benefits, causing the main character, Lacie, to go insane. I don’t believe that this could be out of question for the future. Unfortunately, girls will take photoshoots for Instagram pictures, and many implement Facetune in order to make their pictures “perfect”. I, too, am guilty of going through hundreds of pictures taken at events and only posting one, stating that all the other ones were “bad”. I am also completely guilty of looking up people before meeting them and attempting to determine who they are as a person through social media. I saw the potential perils of falling into the situation of Nosedive because of my day.

Nosedive, leading me to me see the importance that people place in how others view them, reminded me of a time that my friend posted a politically charged sign regarding the Women’s March. It was a sign that read “Thou shalt not take my reproductive rights, Fallopians 2:11”, based off of the Bible’s commandments. Parents of people she didn’t really know commentated angry remarks and long paragraphs that because she was Indian and did not believe in form of Christianity, she couldn’t use the Bible. On Instagram, she lost nearly 20 followers. This reminded me of the Political Bubble article and how people prefer to view things that have the same views as them. Angry comments were also left on her Instagram, causing her to decide not to post her opinions in the future. She was limited in her opinions like in Nosedive, although the problem did not rest with her. People simply are not educated in the idea that diversity of ideas are important. My use of social media got me to think in this way.

The most amount of time I used for the Internet was to do homework, adding up to about 5 and a half hours. I used Google Docs, Sakai, online textbooks, and my Outlook throughout the day. Things are a lot easier than when I would be doing homework in middle school, where I constantly would be required to bring all my textbooks. I would also have to bring notebooks for every subject, rather than taking notes on Google Drive. Things are easier, now, especially for group projects where we can work on the same document at the same time, rather than saving and emailing the project; however, there are cons to the use of technology. A con would be that there is less of an excuse now that everything’s online. One cannot blame a snow day or not having the textbook for not doing the work, because it is always available. On a more serious note, technology has taught us to be distracted. With the availability of multiple tabs, notifications, and constant communication, I have realized the multitude of ways that I could be more efficient.

I could set off time in which I check my phone for entertainment after I maximize my schoolwork time. I could additionally try to use my phone less. But, I have learned that I have gained so much dependency on my phone that I do not have much of an urge to use it less. I wake up to an alarm from my phone and check it in order to wake up in the morning. At night, it is the last thing I see for entertainment and for making an alarm for the morning. Unfortunately, out of this experience, I felt while there are a lot of detriments to the use of Internet, it is inevitable that I continue to use it, and perpetuate the stereotypes of the modern age.