We all sing praises as the new next thing comes out. The world was taken by storm when MySpace first made its dent in the social sphere. When MySpace became boring the world was extremely happy when there was a new way to network and find friends by means of Facebook. Everyone used new media to the hilt, be it by way of creating blogs, letting their thoughts being heard in 140 characters or less via twitter, voicing their opinion by making websites and petition lists for things they believe in or even posting pictures of a fun weekend getaway with the family or a friend. This is how we were all taught to use new media, by sharing our lives to the fullest on the web. But unfortunately we never took a moment to step back and think of the possible consequences that we might face because of all the information we put up. Though there is a very well oiled system of letting the world know what you are doing through new media, there is an equally efficient machine that monitors one’s every move while on the internet and while using these many forms of social media. Privacy is a scarce thing on the internet and as social media evolves to be more personalized this need for privacy will only continue to grow, but somehow I don’t think the providers of these various new media outlets will be able to keep up with the demands and provide the level of privacy that we require to make us feel safe.
Everyone, be it the new media provider (Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon) , private marketing firms and even the government is always on the prowl for new data about what someone is doing on the internet. The new media providers choose to say that this will help the personalize the website that the client visits and provides them with a more enjoyable experience. The marketing firms want to put you on listserv’s for various companies so you get mindless emails about things that you would never need, and the government wants to collect data in order to “monitor” what the citizen is doing online.
I think the worst experience I’ve had was when I was buying a bike from Amazon, I wanted to take a couple days to think over about it and left the bike in my amazon cart. The next time I was browsing the web, I was watching videos on YouTube and low and behold, the picture and price of the bike I was eager to buy was right there next to the video. The same thing happen while I was on Facebook, the ad for the bike came up on the side of the page. How does a bike, that I have not even purchased yet come up on 4 different sites that are completely unrelated? It is rather scary to think that if a simple buying decision was so quickly transmitted across websites, what would be happening to our personal information which we put up (be it for online banking or even your bio on Facebook).
I think it is up to the user now to be extremely cautious as we use different forms of new media. We have to take extra precautions and not include any of our personal information, because once it is on the web, it is there to stay forever. Most of the time it is harmless, but sometimes it can unfortunately result in things that are not so pleasant.