Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Cost of Online Identities

Dear James Gleik and Danah Boyd,

Your article “How Google Dominates Us” was entirely accurate.  We have made Google what it is, but then again Google has made us.  Whenever I need a quick answer to something (or any answer, for that matter) I go straight to Google’s search engine.  I cannot imagine a life without Google, and I’m sure a lot of people would agree with me.  Google is always looking for new ways to reinvent itself, but at the end of the day it remains simple but extremely informative, which is why so many people gravitate towards it.  Your article makes me realize how much power Google really has over us, and how privacy can be a concern.  The fact that our searches could be saved or tracked is a bit scary, but I would not give up using Google because of that.  This shows how strong Google’s hold over us really is.    

Danah Boyd’s article touched on privacy as well.  She questions who has the right to view our personal online profiles, and there really isn’t a correct answer.  Anyone can come across anything you have left online, and with more and more technology out there, it becomes harder and harder to trace your steps.  I have always wondered myself who is looking at what, but there is no way of telling, which increases the paranoia.  However, there are steps we can take to decrease our paranoia.  I think it’s okay to each have our unique online identities, but at the same time remember to filter ourselves just to be safe.  I know people who do not think twice before posting pictures or comments, and after a while they will probably lose track of it, but it remains there forever for the world to see.        

Connie Zhen 

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