Virtual Revolution: The birth of the internet

 

 

The first key issue mentioned within this video was that we
as people are constantly handing out information freely across the web in return
for ‘free’ services such as web space. 
The repercussion of this is that we are unable to control the
information once it is distributed and also that it can be used by marketing
companies to display particular ads which they believe are relevant to
you.  During the video it was said that
‘Free is an illusion’, which is true because we are paying with something that
could be said to have more value than money, our personal identities, by using
the internet as a platform to trade this information.

Google used this effectively by creating an algorithm which
allowed people to find web pages more effectively on the web in exchange for
their personal information being used to pin point particular ads to that
individual. The algorithm allows pages with enough hits to be the first to
appear in their search engines, which was an effective way to separate good
webpages from the bad ones. Google knew that they could use their search engine
to revolutionise advertising which in turn changed our relationship with the
web.  We freely gave information on our
interests and desires which allowed them to tailor ads to suit our ‘needs’ so
that we would purchase a particular product that Google thought we may want.
Google saw the effectiveness of this, so allowed businesses to pay for their
spot on their search engine and determined which pages would appear where due
to the relevancy and quality of the information but also how much they were
willing to pay.

Another service that Google provided was its Gmail service,
which is a free service used to send emails daily. The amazing thing about
Gmail is that it would scan your emails for keywords in order to display ads on
the right hand side of the screen. This was an issue as people believed it was
invading personal privacy yet is still a feature which remains in its service
today.

Behavioural targeting was another point mentioned within
this video, which was where advertisements were being predicted on what you did
over the internet. This had both a positive and negative effect as consumers
were becoming the consumed by the internet and its marketing ideals. Our
information was being watched and traded, and major companies such as Netflix
were using this to their advantage in order to predict what films you may wish
to purchase next depending on what you previously looked at or purchased. This
filtering was deliberate in order to get you to purchase something you may find
desirable.

A key issue mention in the video was in relation to AOL and
how it gave our personal information to the public without mentioning names but
gave ID numbers for that particular search. This backfired when a woman’s
identity was disclosed by simply using the information provided by AOL and a
phone book. This made headlines and showed just how much information we are
giving out about ourselves without realising. 
There is no clear cost for the average person when people give out their
information until it is too late, which relates closely with social media.
People who use Facebook, in particular young people, will post their mistakes
such as drunken nights out on social media without considering the
consequences. Once that information is on the internet it will always be accessible
and will possibly affect future jobs as your future employer can easily gain
access to that information.

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