Public Like Me*

If you wonder what it is like to be a Foursquaring, data-tracked, social-media denizen then read Living in Public: What Happens When You Throw Privacy Out the Window on Lifehacker. The author, who normally does not expose herself to location tracking, online data collection, and personalized ads, abandoned her clickstream reserve for a few weeks to experience life with a constant trail of digital breadcrumbs. She reports it had some positive aspects but not enough to convert her. (Thanks, E.C.)

*Few of my readers will conjure up the association this subject line intends. Click here if you want to get the joke.

3 thoughts on “Public Like Me*”

  1. After finally getting a smartphone during the first semester, I was so happy that I did not even consider privacy as an issue. For me, I was finally connected to the world, and could finally be up to date with everybody. However, friends told me about Foursquare and how people could track you. They were very vague about it, but it did keep me away. Finally, after going on my Alternate Spring Break trip with a bunch of other students from BU, I decided to join them in checking in at locations I probably will never be at again. At first, it was fun because it became a competition to see who remembered to check in first. After returning back to the normal daily life, I stopped using Foursquare; it felt very repetitive. However, notifications for my friends kept coming up, which made me want to surprise them at where ever they were. Then it hit me; there may be others out there who could definitely “surprise” people if they really want to stalk them. The following quote stood out to me because I related to this right after we returned from Spring Break.

    New research suggests that social networks make us lonely, and while I can see where that comes from, it’s hard to deny how location sharing can also create spontaneous meetups.”I wanted that spontaneous meetups with my new friends I had made over Spring Break. Having these apps made me realize that people were going out and doing things while I was stuck in my room doing homework. It did make me feel lonely. But above all else, it felt weird that my every movement could be tracked and it was all voluntary.

  2. The part on Data is really interesting.  I am amazed by how much websites track you without someone even knowing. (Although his use of proxy servers so that no one know were he is a little paranoid) It is a little eerie to know that gmail reads your emails so that they can put up relevant ads. It kind of makes you wonder what else people can do on the internet that they do not tell you.

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