Freedom or the Internet?

If I asked you whether you wanted to keep your rights and freedoms or to keep your Facebook account active, how many new friends would you add? Because let’s face it, we sell ourselves every single minute of the day. Every time we post a status, or tweet 140 characters or “double-tap” someone’s cereal on Instagram, we further transform ourselves into commodities.

We barely have any “freedoms” or “rights” within much of the sphere of the Internet, even less so within our social media accounts. But do we care? Sure, we know that once a photo is uploaded to Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg owns it. Every time we google something, our twitter advertisements coincidentally advertise eerily similar products for our “recommendation”. Our profiles, which many use to share to show themselves “F—-in’ Wrecked” from the other nights party or how much they hate just about anything, means more to potential employers than the 30-minute interview the two of you just had. Because, interestingly enough, we view those accounts as superficial, social perspective of ourselves, whereas those 30-minute’s face-to-face are more superficial to potential bosses while your account is a more realistic perspective of you.

Paraphrasing William Wallace (aka Mel Gibson, aka Mad Max), we are more willing to give up our freedoms and rights to preserve our 5-minutes of social media fame, especially after our status on Facebook slamming Bachelor Sam for not choosing Heather got 30 Likes- #KeyboardWarrior4Life. So after posting that warrior-like status and achieving temporary self-satisfaction, you see on your Facebook page that “The Bachelor” and “Sam Wood” are Trending (Neal, 2013). This is due to the collection of information of over 1 billion users; social media sites utilize this data to promote and advertise for other companies to specifically target audiences.

The Internet was designed to be a decentralized format for the free-flow and valuable, rich information and interaction. It promotes individual responsibility within the “walled gardens” of the internet-world and is a Libertarian’s paradise of self-control and empowerment. Yet sadly, this idealistic “garden” has grown one too many weeds amongst it’s roses, as we continue to make ourselves valuable rather than value ourselves.

Stay Classy UOW,

Todd Steele.

Neal, M 2013, ‘Apple Says It Isn’t Interested in Your Data: Here’s What Apple Does and Doesn’t Know About You,’ Motherboard, viewed 12 September 2015, http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/what-apple-does-and-doesnt-know-about-you

Mitew, T 2014, The Feudalisation of the Internet, lecture, DIGC202, Global Networks, University of Wollongong, delivered 12 April

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3 comments

  1. Interesting use of Facebook to divulge the week’s topic. I too used Facebook as the crux of my reflection, as I think of all the social media platforms it is the most relevant to content aggregation and issues of ownership when it comes to big data. Your point on job interviews rings out too, as this is something many people do not consider when they share to their social network – this will cross into professional networks at some time too. As much as I enjoyed the Bachelor reference, I think a more formal case study or academic source would have tightened this post up a lot more.

  2. Hi Todd. Great meme! I think most people know (maybe not in depth) that certain rights are relinquished when you agree to those terms and conditions attached to social media accounts. I think there is a certain functional blindness that people use. We know that this is a problem but very few people are choosing not to use social media for these reasons. You might be interested in this post about an argument against social media http://chempetitive.com/chemunity/i%E2%80%99m-anti-social-media

  3. Good post, but I don’t completely agree when you say “We barely have any “freedoms” or “rights” within much of the sphere of the Internet, even less so within our social media accounts. But do we care? “. Of course on websites, we have to adhere to the owner’s rules, but the enormity of the internet allows much more freedom and we do have rights protected under law.

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