Privacy is the price we pay

This post marks the final days of my college career. Listen to the video below as you let that soak in.

Cue the uncontrollable sobbing.

Everything up until this point has had an expiration date or a time limit: summer camp for two weeks, middle school for three years, high school and college for four years, fall semester, spring semester and then grad school if you’re doing that sort of thing, which I’m not. But you get the point.

I’ve thought a lot about the future this semester. Not only in regards to my future career and life, but also in regards to technology’s future. There are so many cool things being developed all the time, but with that also comes a big sacrifice. We don’t realize or comprehend how much privacy we give up every time we interact with social media or our mobile phones. To maintain relevancy, we have to have an Instagram, a Facebook and a LinkedIn, so giving up our privacy doesn’t really phase us.

It wasn’t until JOMC 240 that I truly comprehended how much privacy we give up by using social media and technology in general. Technology changes so quickly that we don’t have time to slow down and think about it before we download our next app. We seem to be stuck on this idea that the government is spying on us. That’s probably true, but we should be more concerned about Apple or Verizon spying on us and having access to everything. The government can only do so much without being called out, but Apple can do a whole lot of damage if they start giving people access to our private information. My iPhone knows where I live and will tell me approximately how many minutes it will take for me to get to places I visit regularly. This information conveniently appears on my phone’s drop down notification center, but I’ve never really thought about it as an invasion of privacy because I like knowing that it will take me about four minutes to drive home.

Hypothetically, Apple could give a stalker this information, or someone could hack the “cloud” and give a stalker this information. If I’m just putting it out there, by choice via my settings, I’m not so sure there is anyone to protect me until it’s too late. Dun dun dunnnn. Location-based technology easily becomes more creepy than convenient when you put it in a worst case scenario. I like knowing how many steps I take each day and like to do step competitions with my friends; but, if everyone knew when and where I walk, then there could be an issue.

Similarly, we don’t know if anyone is really protecting us from people hacking our bank accounts via Venmo, but it’s so convenient that we use it anyway. We willingly fork over our privacy for convenience. I’m still not sure if it is a good or bad thing because I haven’t actually seen any negative consequences from it. So what if someone knows where I live or work? I haven’t been harassed or stalked (knock on wood). I’m no celebrity, nor have I gotten Insta-famous (I’m still waiting for @drinksintheair to repost my pic) so what does it matter? It’s hard to be cautious when we haven’t seen bad results. Yet.

What I’m really circling back to here is Kranzberg’s idea that technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral. We shouldn’t fear technology, but we should think about it a little more before we embrace it. Ignorance is not bliss when your privacy is at risk.

Still, No Taco?

The new, racially diverse emojis are finally here, along with a larger selection of national flags. Still…no taco emoji. I don’t see why they didn’t include it, considering there are like 11 sushi-esq items.

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The lack of a taco emoji is just plain disrespectful; however, racial diversity is the most important thing here. We now have different skin tones and hair colors to choose from when we decide to send an emoji. It’s great news. But are the lesbian and gay family emojis not diverse? Maybe my phone is glitching, but they only come in one color: yellow. While the single person emojis offer a variety of diverse options, the family, couple and dancing girl emojis only come in one shade.

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The lack of racially diverse family options and the lack of diverse cuisine emojis needs to be addressed. Or maybe I should just turn my phone off and restart it — that seems to be the solution to most tech problems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snapchat, an explanation is in order

I think Snapchat should have sent an explanatory snapchat before it’s most recent update. Instead, I had to Google what was going on. I also don’t see how this update really benefits anyone. I know I’m friends with the people I’m snapping, otherwise I wouldn’t be snapping them. I don’t need an emoji to tell me who my friends are. I guess its nice reassurance? Seriously though, you can’t just go throw emojis wherever you want. Let us know what they mean first!

The Old Facebook

Last night I was watching the national championship game with a few friends. True to form, with us being millennials and all, we were multitasking with our computers out and phones by our side.

We weren’t about to give Duke basketball our undivided attention. That would be devil worship.

At some point, we started going through our old Facebook statuses circa 2007. Naturally, they were filled with preteen angst, dramatics and song lyrics. Aside from the posts being hilarious, they were also a huge blast from the past.

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If you were a late bloomer and didn’t get The Facebook during it’s early years, well, you missed out on some big moments. Yes, it used to be called “The Facebook.”

Before I get ahead of myself, here’s a little video if you want a quick trip down memory lane.

I didn’t get Facebook until 2008, making me a late bloomer compared to my friends. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted one; but, my mom was not a fan of the idea.

Anyways, as my friends and I reflected on the old Facebook last night, we were kind of shocked at how much has really changed.

1. In November of 2007, my friend Nash posted on my other friend Olivia’s wall saying, “I’m typing this on my phone right not…Cool, huh?” He was one of the few people in my grade to get a Blackberry when it first came out. I remember thinking I would never use Facebook on my phone because it took forever to load anything and the display was so small. Boy was I wrong.

2. Newsfeed didn’t exist. If you wanted to see what your friend’s crush was up to, you had to type his name in the search bar. Photo albums didn’t just show up.

3. If you wanted to create an album, you had to pug your digital camera into your family’s desktop computer, upload them to your computer and then go on Facebook. There were so many steps involved.

4. Without a newsfeed, you had to really dig if you wanted to creep on people. You had to go to a specific person’s profile and look through all their wall-to-walls. It was THE thing to do at sleepovers back in the day. Not everyone was on Facebook and tagging didn’t exist, so you could pretty much talk about people with a friend via a wall-to-wall without fear that the person being talked about would find out.

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5. Your status automatically began with, “[Your name] is…” and you couldn’t “like” or comment on a status.

6.  Farmville, at least for my group of friends, was taken very seriously.

7. You could add applications to your wall, like graffiti and flair. If you didn’t have cool Flair, you were not cool.

8. You could “poke” people, and they could “poke” you back! You could also send bumperstickers, which were equally as fun.

9. Honesty Box allowed people to anonymously say whatever they wanted to you, good or bad.

10. Lastly, in the “Extended Information” section, you could specify what you were “looking for.” Your options included friendship, dating, a relationship, etc. I guess Match.com took care of that one.

Overall, the earlier Facebook changes were pretty drastic. I remember dreading the day my Facebook updated to include a cover photo. It was something I complained about. Now, none of these changes bother or surprise me. I don’t even think about it anymore because I’ve adapted. If Facebook is about to take over the world, it just might be an adapt or die situation.

The Bike Thief

I’ve had my bike stolen, twice. It was quite the calamity considering I was too young to drive and almost everyone of my friends lived within biking distance from me. It always baffled me how someone was able to get in and out of our side yard without anyone noticing. A bike is not something you can easily conceal. Whoever it was had to either ride off with it or throw it in the back of a truck. Either way, did no one recognize my metallic, ice blue Giant mountain bike?

Had iPhones been around at the time when some thief was ridding away with my bike, Nextdoor could have been beneficial. Nextdoor is a social network for your neighborhood and community. It allows you to communicate with people around you, whether it’s about a break-in, block party, lost dog or babysitter. It’s a great way to spread and share information quickly with those around you. It’s also a great way to get to know the people who live around you.

Say someone had been driving by the crime scene in front of my house, but they weren’t exactly sure who lived there. A quick message or photo could have been sent through Nextdoor, alerting the community that a innocent 13-year-old girl’s bike was being stolen. If I sound bitter, I am.

Instagram Should Hire Me Already

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Don’t get me wrong, I love Instagram; but, I have another recommendation. I’m still on the fence about making my Instagram public. I’ve been public for about two weeks, but I’ve gotten cold feet and switched it back to private multiple times. It would be great if you could have a private account with the option to make some posts public. Considering Instagram’s search feature is less than stellar, the explore page is really the only place for you to find accounts of people similar to you (aka people you probably know). However, you can only “explore” accounts that are public. If Instagram offered the ability to keep some posts private, we could keep our profiles public without fearing that weirdo stalkers would come find us.

Furthermore, a semi-public account would be awesome in regards to follower requests. Some people have weird usernames, and if their account is private, it’s hard to determine who they are based on a dime-sized profile picture. When you have a private account, you want to be able to screen who is trying to follow you, so how can you do that when they themselves are private? You can’t. Which is why the semi-public account is a no brainer.

YouTube Tutorials

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So, I got a calligraphy pen today.

What started as me going to get doughnuts at Rise, turned into me wandering around Michaels with the idea that I am the queen of crafts. The problem with me and arts and crafts stores, is that I want to buy everything. First, I went down the beading isle, which had every bead you could imagine, so naturally, I decided I should make jewelry. The further into the store I got, I became more an more convinced that I needed some new hobby. I decided against paints, because that would be too messy, and settled on a calligraphy pen. I don’t know the first thing about calligraphy, but just being in a craft store, I was convinced that I could figure it out.

I’ve spent the past three hours on YouTube in an attempt to teach myself how to use this pen. I have an exam Tuesday, but studying will just have to wait. Unfortunately, my class blog also went on the back burner. Anyways, three hours later and I can write out the alphabet in about two minutes. Correction: I can write the lowercase alphabet in about two minutes. But that is the beauty of YouTube and mass media. You can learn just about anything from YouTube tutorial. So many options to choose from: make up, dance move, economics, funny animal videos, etc. We can send, share and absorb so much information without leaving our homes. (I could have ordered this pen online and really done it all from home.) YouTube has such a great variety of videos. I searched “calligraphy how to,” and so many things came up. It was such a random thing to look for, but over 120,000 other people had watched one of the videos I clicked on.

The internet allows us to be more spontaneous. I decided to try this today, learned the basics today and will probably be in business by tomorrow. Not really, but people can actually get paid to do calligraphy, so there is still hope. I am starting to get the basics down pat, and I didn’t have to take a class or anything. Just contact me if you want me to address your graduation announcements.