Friday, April 27, 2012


Dear Danah Boyd,

     I believe your disccussion on branding and ownership is an important topic of discussion in terms of today's society. The addition of the digital environment seems to blur definitive lines of ownership that are traditionally present in real life. Ypu mention that much of the domains and names present throughout the web are given based on essentially a first come first serve basis, but their are practices and methods that some people employ to still obtain what has already been previously assigned. This transitions into your discussion on identity as well. With the vastness that is the internet, identity becomes very hard to distinguish. Companies out to make a profit can be very personable with people when in reality this just a simple facade. The problem as you mentioned is that everyone is just essentially an account on the internet, with very little distinguishing factors. To help alleviate this issue you mention the importance of policies and definitions that help to make these vague areas a little more understandable and clear cut to society as a whole. This can help in truer representation of both individuals and companies alike, leading to a more open and essentially fair community.
     In terms of a discussion on community, James Gleick brings up some interesting points in his essay titled "How Google Dominates Us". The topic of ownership is also explored in this essay. Gleick notes that Googles AdSense system of displaying ads to users may challenge this. Essentially, based on the queries that one enters, the system will more or less tailor the visible ads to that individual to mimic what the individual is most interested in. The question is then who really owns that information that we as users essentially created. This appears to relate back to your idea of outlining policies regarding this more clearly. While Google claims to act almost as intermediary that leads a person to useful bits of information, systems such as this does raise certain ownership issues especially when it comes to some private data such as queries here. Their attempts at integrating social media into the list of their growing services I believe will complicate many of the areas that you mentioned, complicating the concept of a fairer community.

Jonathan Thai

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