Saturday, March 3, 2012

Finding Identities and Protecting those Identities

Dear Danah Boyd,

Your article was very interesting because it connects greatly with the evolution of the internet at this point in time.  You center your article around the concept of surveillance and privacy.  What first came to mind was this question:  Do we even have privacy anymore?  Do we even want privacy anymore?  Every person uses online social media sites to post almost everything about their life from "Check-ins" to photo albums to updated statuses.  These internet networks allow people to be watched by many.  Yet, what I think is the point here is that people voluntarily show or tell people what they are doing -- therefore, maybe peole don't want privacy anymore.  For me, online websites such as Facebook is a place to connect and a place that I almost never post anything about where I am or what I am doing at a certain point of the day.  I do not really care that much about where people are or how they are feeling unless they are my close friends and family.  At this point, Facebook is more of a habit and a place where I can joke and connect with my friends.  But to answer my own questions -- Yes, I do want my own privacy.

What I thought was very interesting about your article was the way that the two girls protected their feelings and identities over the internet.  The girls seemed to be quite the opposite.  Carmen seemed to have been more of a person that wanted others to know what/why/how she was feeling when anything happened in her life.  This could be a cry for attention; however, I won't judge based on her actions.  Yet, what I felt when I read her explanation is that someone like Carmen should have friends or family that she is able to tell her problems rather than putting it online and waiting for someone to notice it and then ask her what is wrong.  We live in a world where we don't speak up enough in the right places!  If Carmen is feeling upset, she should look to talk to someone rather than posting this over the internet.  She is not coming to terms with her own identity in a personal way; rather, she is defining herself publically.  Differently, Shamika seemed to have been more private once she realized the consequences of identifying herself and her feelings publically.  What happens in someone like Shamika's situation is that her comments or statuses were obviously taken offensively by someone else and caused her trouble.  What Shamika did was intelligent because she is putting more privacy to her life and her actions.  Not everyone can see her posts or her conversations with every single person, and in a way I think she looks a bit stronger for being able to take charge and become more responsible with her privacy. 

In another article that we had been assigned to reading this week was titled "Making Friends in Cyberspace" by Malcom R. Parks and Kory Floyd.  In their article, they described the statistics of women and men who form relationships over the internet.  They found that more women than men had found relationships over the internet and thought maybe this had been because women were looking for friends more than men.  Whatever the case may be as to why this was true, I think it'd be interesting to see how online networking negotiates relationships rather than just one personal identity.  The way that Carmen acted or the way that Shamika acted would definitely be different had they been commenting about relationships or to their loved ones.  Is privacy an issue when it comes to relationships?  Sometimes, I feel that people who post their relationship information all over the internet nonstop and don't privatize their relationship are just looking to prove something to everyone else.  There are times when privacy is needed and I definitely think that when two people are involved it is better to not always be on display.

Thank you,
L Sortino

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