Digitally Naive

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. It’s full of absolute rubbish, but I like to keep an eye on how my family and friends are doing. From time to time I find myself angry as I scroll through my timeline. Like today, when one of my relatives liked and shared this post:

Oh come on. Seriously? That’s a photograph? Of the Pope and Mary? Really? REALLY?

It was then, as I hunched over my phone scrolling through hundreds of comments to find at least one other person who thought it was hilariously fake, I realised why it had angered me.

Facebook is a place where intelligent yet digitally naive are exposed to a world they don’t really understand. It’s hard to watch. I think I’ll take a break from it for a while.

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Facebook: Ahead of the curve?

Facebook have come under fire this week after they admitted trying out an experiment with their news feed in order to gauge if “exposure to emotions led people to change their own posting behaviours”. In other words, seeing if sad content encourages sad content.

It has resulted in a bit of a backfire, with a rather over zealous MP calling for an investigation into the matter, people claiming that it touches on a “wider failure in ethics, power and consent on platforms” and others just being downright offended at the study.

It makes me uncomfortable to think that my internet activity is being closely monitored, but let’s face it – Facebook aren’t the only ones at it. I doubt ANYTHING I’ve done on the internet in the last few years has failed to be recorded somewhere for further analysis, and I’m pretty sure I’ve been manipulated at some point (I own a set of poached egg pods and I don’t even like poached eggs).

Behavioural targeting isn’t new, it’s used everywhere.

Continue reading Facebook: Ahead of the curve?

Respect the Viewer

As an avid Game of Thrones viewer, I found myself plagued by unwanted spoilers every Monday. It was everywhere – Twitter, Facebook, Imgur and so many news sites I lost count. You just couldn’t get away from it.

I eventually accepted the inevitability and stayed offline, away from potential spoilers, until I could get home and watch it. That was quite tricky considering I work with the internet for a living.

For me, a spoiler is only when an episode is fresh. By fresh, I mean within few weeks of airing for the first time. Posting about an episode that’s five weeks old is fair enough, but five minutes after airing in the US is a bit poor.

I can’t change the fact that people post spoilers (however much I wish I could), but I can take joy from ranting about the types I’ve seen so far.

Note: The following contains something from the first season of Game of Thrones that might ruin it for you if you haven’t seen it yet.

 

Continue reading Respect the Viewer