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.

One Reply to “Internet Stalking”

  1. I agree with your observation about “Echo Chambers” and the connection of that reading to what we found scrolling through our professor’s twitter feed. I think the most alarming part about this activity was being able to find the name and age of our professor’s child, but it showed that the information we put online does not only link to us but also those related to us.

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