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IT Technologies and Data’ Impact on Daily Life

Reflect On The US Election In 2008. How Did Web 2.0 Technologies And Related Digital Culture Contribute To The Presidential Campaigns? Do You Feel That Such Strategies Were Effective? Why Or Why Not? Do You Think The Internet Can Be Used Successfully As A Medium For Democratic Participation In Canada? How About For Various Forms Of Activism? Is Facebook A “Powerful Agent For Social Change”? Provide A Clear Argument Illustrating Whether Or Not You View The Internet To Be An Essentially Democratic Medium, Providing Examples From Popular Culture, Recent Political Events, The Readings, And Your Own Experience.

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Once upon a time, the development of printing resulted in the epoch of Enlightenment. The modern world of information is now witnessing new changes. The Internet and social networks become a powerful means of sharing information and changing the world to great extent. Some people argue that “cyber-utopians” over-estimate the impact of the World Wide Web on the development of societies (Ceren). Nevertheless, there are far too many examples of the influence of social networks and the Internet on people’s lives, to ignore the growing power of that democratic medium.

In the first place, it is necessary to point out that the Internet and social networks like Facebook or Twitter should be regarded as a source of a vast amount of information from all over the world. News is generated every minute. Clay Shirkey notes that nowadays people “suddenly have a world where anybody can publish” and he underlines that “spread of people who can commit acts of journalism isn’t just a new capability in society; it breaks some old bargains” (“Does “Obama Girl” help Obama?”).

In other words, there is no privileged class of journalists. At present some people cannot simply make a deal with a journalist to promote something or vice versa withhold. Now everyone having access to the Internet can publish any information, so it has become quite difficult to withdraw anything. It is, indeed, a sign of an essential democratic medium of ides expression.

Nevertheless, it is important to remember that powerful people have much more opportunities than the average citizen does, so potentially it is possible to detect and prevent any information leak since “those in power exploit their total access to infrastructure and technology to overcome their populations’ limited options” (Ceren). However, despite these arguments, it is obvious that people can and do influence the development greatly with the help of social networks.

One of the simplest examples of the power of the Internet is an episode from real life. The story happened in New York where Ivanna left her cell phone in a cab, and with the help of the social networks, she managed to return her $300 cell phone, though police did not want to interfere and “classified Ivanna’s phone as missing not stolen” (“Does “Obama Girl” help Obama?”). However, Ivanna revealed her story on the Web, and the media “pushed” police to act, and eventually, the cell phone was returned to its owner. This can be regarded as a “domestic” episode, but it is still important to point out that the Internet managed to help justice triumph. People from all over the world can help each other in numerous difficult situations.

The power of the Web and social networks has been acknowledged by activists as well. Reportedly, many activist groups have been trying to achieve their aims by persuading people to join the movement. For instance, Hassan claims that the magazine and website Adbusters organized various campaigns to achieve their major aims to subvert “the corporate symbols of neoliberal capitalism” and expose “corporate malfeasance and hypocrisy” (120).

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These campaigns were quite local since they were aimed at Americans only. At present activists unite people worldwide with the help of technology. For instance, Alex Bookbinder, a student from a Canadian University, managed to create a group of activists and even raise funds against violence in Burma (Scola). Many other activist groups preoccupied with the situation in Burma could use the experience of Bookbinder and join to help the people of Burma.

More so, social networks start playing even a political role in the development of societies. For instance, such famous networks as Facebook and Twitter joined one of the sides during conflicts in Egypt and Tunis (Weisberg). Social networks are more powerful in developed countries since only young people (not quite many) of developing countries are aware of this medium. The Web unites people of developed countries, to great extent.

For instance, it is said that the Web played an important role in Obama’s campaign of 2008. It did, indeed. Various videos (even of low quality) about Obama and his activities were posted on Youtube which was very favorable for his image and his popularity among voters (“Does “Obama Girl” help Obama?”). The Internet contributed greatly to the creation of Obama’s positive feature.

On balance, the Internet and social networks should be regarded as a potent tool that influences greatly the development of societies. In developed countries like the USA and Canada, the networks can play not only an essential social and cultural role but an important political role as well.

Data Mining And Databases Affect Many Aspects Of Our Everyday Lives. Marketing Executives Argue That Customization Will Satisfy The Difference And Diversity Of A Society. Media Scholar Joe Turow States That “By Emphasizing The Individual To An Extreme, The New Niche Marketing Forces Are Encouraging Values That Diminish The Sense Of Belonging That Is Necessary To A Healthy Civic Life” And Such Customizing Is Producing “Angst Over Social Difference.” How Is The Practice Of Customer Profiling In Marketing Producing ‘Niche Envy’ And Changing The Way We Think About Privacy? Do You Feel Naked In The Nonopticon? Provide Examples From Course Readings That Help Explain This Statement (For Example “Niche Envy” And “Data-Driven Relationships”) And Think Of How The Future Of Consumption Will Be Affected By Narrow Marketing Strategies.

Nowadays the issues of privacy have become of primary concern for many people. In the middle of the twentieth century, Orwell could only imagine that people can be watched day and night. At present, it is a reality where people have to live in. People reveal a lot of information which is being used without any control. Admittedly, it is difficult to have a skeleton in a cupboard since the Internet and social networks can easily reveal any secret.

This technological “wonder” was immediately used by marketing. Companies of the future will be able to produce and sell out products because they will have all the necessary information about people’s likings and preferences. Companies will be able to work out marketing strategies for every person who will become a buyer.

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In the twenty-first century the idea of a prison where inmates are watched, and thus are pushed to behave themselves, has turned into a bit distorted reality. The idea of Panopticon presupposed that prisoners were forced to behave properly since all their activities were seen (Vaidhyanathan). It was a very interesting idea which could lead to improvements in prisons, though it seemed rather impossible. However, the development of technology made the impossible possible.

Nowadays social networks shape public opinion and can reveal people’s secrets. For example, a Canadian teenager recorded himself acting as a character from Star Wars, and unluckily the record was posted on several websites (including Youtube) and soon people worldwide knew not only about the teenager’s performance skills but his name and the name of his school (Vaidhyanathan). The family of the teenager had to move to another city because public opinion was unfavorable for the quiet life of members of the family (everyone mocked at them). Such publicity is has played a negative role. Nevertheless, if a person does not have odd records or behaves properly, he/she is still cannot hope to have some privacy.

Modern people live in a brand-new world which was called the “Nonopticon”. Nonopticon is defined as “a state of being watched without knowing it, or at least the extent of it” (Vaidhyanathan). It is necessary to point out that nowadays people are not only watched by cameras number of which in the streets and various buildings are enormous. The opportunities provided by the Internet know no bounds. People share information about themselves without even paying much attention to it.

For instance, people often provide a lot of information on social networks. Thus, and similar sites “advise that with such a wide spectrum of services, registration is required for the utility of these portals to be fully realized” (Campbell 671). People who want to join some virtual community have to fill in various forms and reveal the whole truth about themselves. It is necessary to note that users are not told what is going to happen with their data and in what way the data will be used.

For example, Facebook “shared” the data about its users to a research group, claiming that the data were anonymized (Zimmer). However, when the data of the research were published it turned out that “anonymized” users can be easily identified. Admittedly, Facebook decided to share the private information of its users without making them aware of the fact. Thus, the social network decided what to do with the private data of users, not users themselves. It is quite difficult to anonymize any data since the Internet contains a vast amount of information about every Internet user, so even if someone anonymizes data, others can easily identify each user with the help of an additional set of data (Anderson).

The entire new industry has developed, i.e. data mining. Of course, this industry is a major tool for marketing. Even though many data mining companies provide distorted data about users, many of them generate a good portfolio that can be used by sellers (Stein). Thus, companies work out their marketing strategies based on such data obtained from data mining companies (Danna Gandy 373). This will enable companies to know their potential buyers better. Sellers will know about their customers before they even address these sellers. It is highly likely that companies of the future will address individuals which will become their customers. Companies will be able to produce products that will meet consumers’ expectations.

On balance, nowadays people have almost no place for privacy since the Internet and social networks provide various opportunities to reveal all secrets about individuals. These opportunities can transform the basics of marketing since companies can know everything to turn people into their consumers.

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