How well does your computer know you?
Autoethnography by: Abby Rush
When asked the question “Can you see your life without internet access?” I had to come to the disappointing realization that I could not. This question posed a variety of thoughts going through my head, including the fact that I can’t remember a day when I had not experienced some type of connection with the internet/technology. This startled me. I had not thought about this particular question and now I almost felt ashamed. I have so much access to everything in the world it seems, what were the “olden days” like when a person actually had to use a dictionary, or actually write out their papers? And yes I did say write. It seems like I rarely do extensive amounts of writing any more. Although the information that I put out and receive is far more extensive than I ever imagined.
While it seems like we are going on a downward spiral into a world that is completely virtual (All I can think about are the futuristic people from the Pixar film, WALL-E, seen below), I must also say that Internet access is an amazing, yet unbeknownst to me, sort of topic. Through this project, I got a glimpse of what information I put out and receive from the internet.
I use a variety of different websites on the computer, but never really though much of it, until we began discussing it in class. The websites I visit and things I search all show a little bit about myself. When collecting field notes, I decided to look on my computer to see what websites I visit the most. Here is what I came up with:
10. All Dolled Up blog
These are just the top 10 websites I use, but I think it shows a lot about who I am.
I am a student.
Being in college, I spend a lot of time on my computer doing homework. Both my Spanish class, and Math class require online homework submission. This takes up a big portion of my time. I would say I have about 5 hours worth of online homework per week. These websites cost A LOT to use. Like over $100. I have both of these websites, (cnu.mylabsplus.com and www.vhlcentral.com) bookmarked in my computer for easy access, because I am on them so frequently. My computer even saves my passwords for these websites so that I don’t have to log in every time I use it.
I am female.
What girl doesn’t like to do a little online shopping? I frequent many different websites, often times not even buying anything (because I am a broke college student) but just to see whats out there. Aside from my slight addiction to online shopping.. or looking, I also look at a few blogs. One of my favorite is a fashion blog called “All Dolled Up” (http://alldolledupblog.com ). I am interested in the fashion world and I like to see the different trends that are going on.
I am a young adult.
I use websites like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter on my phone like most people my age. Its easier to use on my phone, but my phone and laptop are connected so everything gets transferred over to my laptop. I spend a decent amount of time looking on thesemedia sites and seeing what is out there. Most of them filter what i see based on my friends or what I like. For example, once you re-pin something on pinterest it shows you a whole new page of “suggested pins”. I think that this technology is really neat, and allows viewers to access things they may not have found otherwise.
While I initially thought I was only receiving information from the internet, I realized that is not the case. I put out information all the time. Through the articles I read, pictures or items I like, or posts I make, the internet is gaining more and more information about who I am. The most common example is when I am looking at clothes or shoes online and later, an ad will pop up for that same item while I am Facebook. The way I respond to different things on the internet effects what I will see and what I will know. Is this a bad thing? I am not really sure. Part of me appreciates the fact that I have filtered results, but part of me is curious about what else could be out there that I am not able to see.