Monday, April 23, 2012

Branding & Online Identities

Google has definitely made its mark in the Internet world. Google's brand was not only developed by Larry Page and Sergey Brin; you, me, him and her helped create Google's brand. Google solely depends on us and that's why it has become the go-to search engine... because we are constantly using it, helping them produce results that we see as "quality information". I am so guilty of using Google as a verb, telling people to Google this and Google that. When I need an answer, I instantly go to Google. While playing Scrabble, any word that I assumed did not exist in the dictionary, I looked it up on Google. Mind you, I own a Webster's dictionary and not once, did I think to look in there. Google makes sure to always implement new, fun features for its users to keep us motivated and entertained while using their "products". Right now, I'm experiencing the new Blogger, which has new features such as an enhanced dashboard; "Schedule", which is setting your post to be published at/on a particular time/date; "Location", which is displaying your geographic location on your posts; and a few others. Gleick's article made me think of the privacy paradox. We argue about our right to privacy, but we actively engage in activities that require us to give up information and we readily do it! I know Google means no harm, but I don't think too many people realize that their clicks on advertisements are being tracked by Google and that's why there's always a cute, shopping ad displayed on our screens (or maybe it's just me)! People are so excited to see these ads that they click and click and click away, not realizing that's giving away information about themselves and what they like to do. Not that it's a big deal, but it's just funny to hear people complain about privacy when they aren't really looking into what to do to protect their privacy or themselves online - unlike danah boyd. danah's online identity,zephora, a name that she'd been using to identify with her audience online, had been - almost been - taken away from her because a company, who just happened to have the same name, felt that the name belonged to them, their brand. But it was also danah's brand, too - it was a name she had been using on many sites, as her signature, and people recognized her as "zephoria". Yet it was so easy for the company to contact Tumblr and request ownership to the name - but danah wasn't having that, which shows that she was going to protect HER BRAND, just as a company would. I think many people fail to realize that we do have rights to protect what is ours and our online identity is included.


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