This week didn’t have any required readings, but I followed up on the links provided as part of the extra resources and felt that I could adequately reflect on a particular issue. One of the readings that really stood out was the one written by Kevin Purdy regarding social networking sites and the ways to manage them. He provides two ways in which he believes will reduce an individuals time on social networking sites, and make the information provided by these sites easily accessible. NutShellmail provides a platform where you can connect all of your social network accounts and receive the information on one single platform in whatever way the user pleases (Purdy, 2005). As I thought about, this seemed like an interesting idea that would definitely be popular with individuals who hold accounts on multiple social networking sites. Digital media has evolved to such an extent that we can access any of our social networking sites wherever we go. This high level of user interface says a lot about the society we live in. The amount of virtual interaction that seems to be taking place is incredible, when compared to a decade ago when it was virtually nothing. This idea of NutShellmail provides a service to a niche market that actually has multiple social networking accounts, only that this market isn’t a nice one anymore. We are moving in to an age where people meet other people online first before actually meeting face to face. We need programs to manage our social networking usage because of the sheer amount of interaction that happens through various sites.
With the theme of this weeks lecture being ‘Living with/as data’, I found this particular article to mirror the theme perfectly. Managing your online social life, strangely enough, is actually quite an important aspect of an individuals private life. We tend to reveal more than we intend to on these sites, and thus provide personal data to a community which seems like can never be permanently erased. Privacy among these social networking sites seems to be one of the biggest concerns in the online community. Doing some background research I found some articles that provided a little more of an in depth analysis of this notion. According to Acquisiti and Gross (2006), a large percentage of the population that use sites such as Facebook, Twitter or MySpace are not fully aware of the amount of information they put up on these sites and also who can see this information. What I am trying to get at from this, is that Purdy raised a question of whether people need to manage their online social life more succinctly, for their own benefit. Quite clearly the answer is yes. The online community is such a large entity that people never full understand, that we ‘Live with the data’ or even ‘as the data’ as we provide information that we did not intend to.
– Purdy, Kevin (n.d.) ‘How to Filter and Manage Your Online Social Life’, Lifehacker
– Alessandro Acquisti and Ralph Gross, Imagined Communities: Awareness, Information Sharing, and Privacy on the Facebook, 2006.