I was trying to look more in-depth into the concepts of identity that I explored earlier in relation to the Internet such as the power structures that dictate the way people should behave online which was mentioned by Zielinki earlier. I thought about how our identities are controlled online and constantly persuaded to do one thing or another in order to then sell products or services to us and simultaneously sell that information and that data of our purchases and our behavior patters back to the advertising companies so that they can successfully persuade us to buy more products in the future.
According to Evgeny Morozov, ‘the social beast that has taken over our digital lives has to be constantly fed with the most trivial of ephemera. And so we oblige, treating it to countless status updates and zetabytes of multimedia’ (Morozov, 2011, p.228). This relation to a ‘social beast’ that constantly needs to be fed by data portrays the state of our current world in which we as a society that constantly uses the Internet and specifically social media sites in our daily lives, are feeding them more and more of our personal data, just by updating and posting more content online. This ‘present’(Morozov, 2011, p. 228) data that we produce reinforces the profit-motive of these sites and allows them to access data that people are producing daily. Additionally, this concept also relates to the idea of the beast that I was hoping to explore earlier which is created out of us when we consume content online and how there is a profile created out of us, a profile that acts as our identity as they are trying to predict who you are and what you’d want to consume.
‘These sites have good reasons for such a fundamentalist preference for the present as it greatly enhances their ability to sell our online lives to advertisers. After all, much of the time we are thinking of little else but satisfying our needs, spiritual or physical and the sooner our needs can be articulated and matched with our respective demographic group, the more likely it is that we’ll be coerced into buying something online’ (Morozov, 2011, p. 229). This once again relates to what Morozov was saying earlier – that people are being pressured into buying products that would supposedly improve their current existence in this world. Our needs are being commoditized because people are providing an extensive amount of data online, which ends up acting against them in the end. I think that the Internet still remains a very opaque concept that no one has full awareness of. And yet, the majority of people seem to be content with not doing anything about that. I am interested in exploring more about why people continue to share information online and whether they are actually aware of what happens when they share too much data online, especially on websites that are not specifically reliable.
Morozov E. (2011). What do we think about? Who gets to do the thinking? In: Brockman, J. ed. Is the Internet changing the way you think?. New York: Harper Perennial, pp. 228-231.