Companies Know EVERYTHING About Us

TARGET

How creepy does it sound that stores that we shop in, may know every little detail about us, what we do, what we buy, and even our personality and behaviors? The article “How Companies Learn Your Secrets” written by Charles Duhigg explains exactly how they do this and why they do. “For decades, Target has collected vast amounts of data on every person who regularly walks into one of its stores. Whenever possible, Target assigns each shopper a unique code — known internally as the Guest ID number — that keeps tabs on everything they buy.” Who would have thought that we all have our own Guest ID number? How cool! …..Uh, more like creepy. They collect data on us every time we visit their store. They see who we are by checking our credit cards we use or if we fill out any surveys at the store. How much more permanent could this get? All of this information that Target is taking on us is in ways permanent cannot even describe since we, at least I, did not even know. ‘We want to know everything we can.” Finding information on us seems like their number one priority in order to get us to come back to their stores again.

Target can also “buy data about your ethnicity, job history, the magazines you read, if you’ve ever declared bankruptcy or got divorced…” Talk about creepy. This is all information that is permanent in a realm we never knew existed and we can never take it back. We walked in all of these stores before and now they know information about us. If it was simple as going to the stores and saying “Hey, can you take my Guest ID number off of your list? I am going to continue shopping here though,” then I would do that, but it is not.

“When a computer chimes or a smartphone vibrates with a new message, the brain starts anticipating the neurological “pleasure” (even if we don’t recognize it as such) that clicking on the e-mail and reading it provides. That expectation, if unsatisfied, can build until you find yourself moved to distraction by the thought of an e-mail sitting there unread.” This is actually really funny, but so true because I am doing it right now and I read and write. I know I have a text message waiting for me, but I am continuing to write while I think about that text message. Although, that text message will always be permanently in my phone so I will always be able to see it no matter what! That is what they call a habit!

Companies like Target use our information in order to get us to come into the stores more often. If they notice that we buy bathing suits during the month of April, they will send us coupons on sunscreen along with ads about books on dieting in December. Using our permanent information that they found from us, they can try to intrigue us to come buy more things in their store.

It is extremely weird how Target can find our information and detect if we are pregnant or not by seeing if we bought supplements, lotion, or a large bag to be a diaper bag. Then they use that information to send us coupons via email since they notice what we are buying and give us information on stuff we most likely will buy in the future. A father did not even know his daughter was pregnant until Target sent them an AD on pregnancy things. Read here for more! 300px-Pregnant_woman21

Permanency is written all over this article. If we want into a store, they use our Guest ID’s and find out information about us that we did not even know was out there. It is permanent now and we can no longer get it back.

Here is another article about Target’s secret we (maybe just I) never knew about… Target’s Secret

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What?

Hi. So I found this crazy article that seems so ridiculously unreal, I can’t even wrap my head around it. I found this article after being intrigued by this week’s videos to watch. I was thinking about the evolution of video games and how my slight addiction to the Nintendo 64 still protrudes today, even as a college sophomore. Then I thought about the world of online gaming. Now, a lot of video game systems integrate that into their technology, like the Wii and the Xbox. It can get pretty scary, because you have no idea who you’re playing with, talking to, or anything like that. Besides that, there are a lot of games just for the computer. The only online game I’ve ever really played is Gold Miner.

Nintendo 64

Nintendo 64 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Try it, it’s fun: [http://www.123games.dk/game/other/goldminer/goldminer.htm]

Anyway.

This is a whole different world. A new kind of gaming. So when I was searching for an article to blog about, I came across a story from the other side of the world. All the way in South Korea.

Here’s the story:

A couple was arrested for the death of their three month old daughter. She starved to death because her parents, who met online, became so obsessed with raising a ‘virtual’ child on an online game. According to the article, they would leave her unattended for hours at a time while they played this game, and only fed her occasionally. She died after they played the game for 12 hours straight, when the body was found. Their baby’s name is not mentioned in the article, but it’s noted that the virtual child’s name was Anima.

Isn’t that sick? I think the most disappointing thing about this article is the fact that they barely acknowledged the real child. They took the time to describe what game the parents were playing and what they named the child, while the child that died was barely recognized. That’s sadder than most stories I wouldn’t even call these people parents. The fact that they met in an online chat sort of begins to describe their personalities- they’re hooked on the web. So much so that they let it become their own reality. They got so lost in cyberspace that they forgot about the real world that we all live in. An innocent life was taken because of an addiction.

So how does this relate to permanence? Easy.

This girl’s life is gone. She is not coming back. A beautiful 3 month old baby, stripped of her life due to an addiction to the web. That’s the most permanent thing in our world- death. Think about that before you make certain choices online.

Love, Hope.

PS- Gold Miner is honestly really fun.

Article:

Dr. Luke

What kind of name is Dr. Luke? Hint: he’s not even a real doctor. He’s a songwriter and producer, who according to the Hollywood Reporter has had over 40 smash hits since 2004. This guy is probably responsible for writing some of your favorite songs. Examples? Die Young by Ke$ha. Teenage Dream by Katy Perry. Till The World Ends by Britney Spears. He is a hit-maker, and definitely knows how to compose songs that will get major airplay on the radio.

SO. Here’s a quick analysis about who he follows on Twitter. He follows a fairly small amount of people, with his number at 75. He follows pretty much only musicians, songwriters, and producers. People involved in the music industry. Artists he’s written for. Artists he’s currently working with. His partners in crime (AKA other songwriters). This small list of people shows a lot about him and his profession.

He takes it seriously. You can tell by the neatness and attentiveness of the list of people he follows. He doesn’t just follow random people who ask him to follow them. He follows professionals, those who are well-known in the music industry and are at the same status as he is.

I think his Twitter also shows that he has a large amount of people who know who he is as a writer and express interest in his profession and how well he does. Not many songwriters and producers are as well-known as he is. The only other few that are up to his level are writers such as Max Martin (POWERHOUSE songwriter) and probably Rock Mafia.

The professionalism of Dr. Luke’s Twitter is fresh and shows a dedication he has towards his career and doing things with grace. He follows a variety of different kinds of people within the music industry, and is able to network himself even more and extend his credentials.

If I EVER get the chance to write with Dr. Luke, I will feel successful. I’m telling you, he is behind all of your favorite songs. You know, the ones that you jam out to in your car with the windows down.

Love, Hope

Links

Made For Me

Facebook has been a staple of my everyday life since I was in 8th grade. Maybe 7th grade. The point is, I was too young to be screwing around on the website. I felt pretty cool, because all the older kids in high school had one. It was pretty lame actually.

I’m a musician. I network through Facebook, a separate ‘likeable’ account I have linked to my personal one. Before I had the account for my music, I posted statuses whenever I recorded new music, so my Facebook friends could listen. Pretty good networking strategy, I thought. Word spread fast around school every time I posted something about my music.

One day, I logged on and had a friend request. The name of the ‘person?’ Hope Sucks. The picture? A child with Down syndrome trying to run. I remember heat rushing to my face. My mouth dried up. Heart pounded out of my chest. My stomach felt like it was slowly disintegrating. Somebody went out of their way to make this page about me, making fun of me. Talking trash. Not even that, but making hate videos about me on YouTube, as well. “Hope Vista Sucks” and “I Hate U Hope” were among the two. I logged off of Facebook and tried to catch my breath. That page was there for everyone to see. All of my classmates, my family members. Anyone in the world could view someone’s hatred towards me.

I stayed off Facebook for a few days and pulled together enough strength to ignore the hate.

Why did I tell this story? To get the message across that being on Facebook everyday is not vital. It can cause controversy, start threats, or end friendships. People truly have no filter online. They are free to say whatever they want and they abuse that power. Having that freedom makes you feel like you’re in control and nobody can stop you. It’s a good feeling, but it can be a dangerous one.

Logging off Facebook for the week is difficult, but I’m kind of glad that I’m away from all the hate, complaining, and blabber. People annoy me on there most of the time, so this assignment was just about breaking a habit. My point is that although Facebook is fun, logging off may be the healthiest thing from time to time. Take a break from cyberspace and come back to the real world. Even though we have so much technology surrounding us, escaping from one thing can truly give your mind a rest.

My closing thought? Avoiding Facebook for a while means avoiding bullshit.Excuse my mouth.

Love, Hope

 

A Girl’s Story: A Permanent Footprint in the Media

It is so easy for us to communicate online. Whether we want to update our Facebook statuses, send out tweets, or post YouTube videos, we can complete any of these actions in the matter of seconds with just the confirmation of the Enter key. Although such actions take no time at all, we sometimes fail to realize that those few seconds cannot be taken back. In some cases, it may seem like we can save these rather personal publications from going viral. Unfortunately, we have little control of what we post online after we send it through cyberspace.

It’s just as easy to forget about the things we put online. Our actions from the past can come back to haunt us…also very easily; most of the time, it is when we least expect it.

This past October, fifteen-year-old Amanda Todd committed suicide prior to her sixteenth birthday. Todd was a victim of cyberbullying and cyberstalking for two years after she exposed herself to an anonymous stranger that she had trusted during a video chat. The stranger blackmailed Amanda, asking for a “show”; and if he didn’t get one, Amanda’s reveal would be spread to her friends and throughout the Internet. A year later, an inappropriate photo of Amanda was set as a profile picture for another Facebook account created by the same anonymous figure. The blackmailer had contacted Todd’s friends from her school, which snowballed into, what came across as, a shameful and provocative reputation. Being judged by people at school and having to constantly move from place to place trying desperately to shake off her blackmailer, Amanda was consumed by depression, panic, and anxiety to the point of drug abuse, alcoholism, and self-harm.

A month before her death, Todd posted a video onto YouTube, which shared her story, “Struggling, Bullying, Suicide, Self-Harm”, which reached over one million views. Although there was nothing that could have been done to stop Todd from acting on her death, the plea expressed in her video influenced campaigns and support groups to urge teens to think about the consequences of posting “sexy” pictures or videos of themselves online. It was said In the Community Blog section of the CBC News website, that the Children of the Street Society, “a charity that seeks to protect children from sexual abuse,” recently started a campaign that “[intends] to raise awareness that, when you are online, there is no such thing as sharing just one photo”.

Amanda Todd’s story just goes to show that once we send things through cyberspace, anything can happen; the risks can be scary and endless. What also can be scary is the fact that poor choices continue to be made online everyday by teens and adults alike. According to Hallae Khosravi from the Toronto Standard, “teenagers aren’t going to stop sending naughty pictures anytime soon. We had it before the rise of smartphones and social media, and just as sex has never gone out of style, nor will the thrill of seeing and sending sexy pics”.

Like Todd’s story, her YouTube video that proved it all has created a permanent footprint in social media. The idea that your life could change from just one submission on the computer is something that all online users should always keep in mind. Although there are advantages of today’s technologies that make tasks quicker and easier to complete, we tend not to think about the downside—the Internet leads us into a trap that is hard to get out of. Everything we put online becomes permanent, instantly, and we are then vulnerable of what could happen next. Be safe when you are online…you won’t regret it.

 

Unruly

Growing up, I’d fear hearing the statement, “This is going on your permanent record.” Educational administrators gave that threat to students daily, hoping to shape them up or give them a little scare. When I found the article Twitter is the New “Permanent Record”, I realized how social media has a permanence that can affect anyone’s everyday life.
Okay, so we tweet things. We update our Facebook statuses constantly. We all post a variety of pictures on the ever-popular Instagram (which I’m not ashamed to say I’m addicted to). But the real question is, has anyone ever realized that these social media sites have access to everything about us? Our user profile information, email addresses, things we post. Every single thing that we write on these sites will always be able to be accessed by the people who own them.

NYU LAW

NYU LAW (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The article, which does not have an author, mentions a case about a man who made certain remarks on Twitter and lost his job at NYU as a result. I doubt he intended on this happening because of a 140-character thought he typed up, but the truth is that anybody can see what you say.

When I scroll through Facebook or Twitter, I always seen things that just make me want to smack people in the head. Maybe that’s harsh, but some people don’t seem to have a filter when it comes to posting things online. Freedom of speech often tends to be abused in this day and age. People get into other people’s business and always have something to say. Maybe that’s why Twitter is said to be the new ‘permanent record.’
I can truly see why this a controversial topic.

Twitter Logo

Twitter Logo (Photo credit: Jon Gosier)

I’ve probably said things online that could’ve gotten me in trouble, but with the amount of users online nowadays, who hasn’t? I firmly believe that everyone has the choice to whether or not sites like these will become the new ‘permanent record.’ The bottom line is, watch what you say. As the article states, “The intent [of your tweets] can easily be miscontrued,” (Admin). Once you have posted something and it’s seen, it is permanent.
Permanence is the underlying theme of this blog, and this article and the use of Twitter perfectly exemplify the meaning of that word. My advice? Be careful.

Love, Hope
PS- Think about others before you post.

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The Existence of Permanency

INTERNET

Posting something on the internet is like getting a tattoo; it is permanent and will be there forever. Anything and everything you post will be there way past everyone’s existence on the planet whether you like it or not. That is why everyone is telling each other to be careful about what they post. Especially parents of young teens who find their children using Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posting status updates, wall posts, new pictures, and tweets for all of their followers to view. In the article “The Permanence of Posting Online” written by John C. Dvorak, he states right in the beginning “The younger crowd pooh-poohs privacy, but let’s see what they think 10 years from now when they can’t get a job because of some photo on Flickr.” Even if you do not post the pictures of you and your friends online, others from that party still could. Even if you are not in the picture smiling, but you are in the background, you can still get in trouble in the future if you are not in a setting that looks appropriate.

Dvorak states “I always tell people that posting photos or comments or just about anything is like getting a tattoo. Once it’s on, it’s pretty hard to get rid of it.” Whenever you post something on the internet, it will be there for everyone to see. The bottom line is that if it is something that you would not like the world to view, then you should not post it online. Posting things online could be detrimental to your future. For example, say you are mad at someone and decide to take it on Facebook and write on their wall describing your fury, others will see it. And the fact is, it will always be there for others to see if you decide to delete it. You are showing people who you are by posting that and it will give the wrong impression to others, especially future bosses. They will see this information and decide that you are not fit for the job because of that post. Even if it was a one time thing and you are never like that, you are giving off an impression that you are. Do people really want to not get their future job because of their childish behavior when they were younger? I know I do not, therefore I do not post anything I do not want to be seen.

I read on the site azfamily.com that this one young lady was mad that she did not receive a promotion so she wrote a Facebook status explaining her feelings.  Her boss found this information and then fired her because of it and she was so upset explaining how she does not understand how she could get fired for over expressing her feelings on Facebook which is private. Even though her page is “private” it is still reachable by others and she got fired because of her thoughts that she should not have put on the internet in the first place. Therefore, she was fired. Everything on the internet including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are traps. Whatever you post, someone will find and it may ruin your life.

There For Thousands of Eyes to See

Image

In Margaret Atwood’s article, “Atwood in the Twittersphere,” she reflects upon her beginning experiences using Twitter, which at first she thought “was for kiddies”. Twitter is a social network with which you can follow your friends, family, and even people you don’t know and be updated with whatever they post, or “tweet”. In the words of Atwood, “Let’s just say it’s communication, and communication is something human beings like to do.” Whether you’re engaging in conversations by commenting on others’ tweets or just throwing out your own lines of random thoughts, your every word is monitored by your followers. Atwood says comments about her own followers, “They’re sharp: make a typo and they’re on it like a shot, and they tease without mercy.”

A major difference between everyday verbal communication and written communication online is that what you submit through the Web remains there. Sure, Atwood’s spelling errors that are caught by her followers are not that great of a concern; but when it comes to saying things that you could regret later on, you’re out of luck. Atwood even reacts to her words published in her online article,

“Oops! I shouldn’t have said that. Which is typical of “social media”: you’re always saying things you shouldn’t have said…come to think of it: once decrees and blessings have made it out of the mouth—or now, in the 21st century, out of the ends of the fingers and past the Send button—you can’t take them back.”

This brings me back to Twitter and having followers. I followed Margaret Atwood today, and guess how many people are following her…392,290! That means that there are 784,580 eyeballs (thank you, phone calculator) that can be reading about anything from what she had for dinner to her thoughts on works that her fans send her to read. No matter what you decide to post online—whether it is something silly with little significance, something inspirational/informative or something you wish you hadn’t said—it will reside in cyberspace and may potentially be remembered by those who are connected to you. Even pictures are krazy-glued to the Web with the click of a mouse (what’s left of them) or a tap of a finger. My intention of this response is not to go all “Big Brother” on the idea of publishing things online. We all have posted something; it has become a part of life…and for some people, it is their life. I feel that we sometimes forget who our audience is; not only that, we don’t think before we type. We can believe that our actions online will disappear by logging out and shutting down our laptops…if only it was that simple! #besmart #thinkahead

Twitterverse

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

I was sitting in my Piano class as a sophomore in high school when I made my first Twitter account. I’m not sure exactly how I heard about this new social media phenomenon, but the idea of sending short little updates to the entire world was appealing. I tweeted my classmates as I was sitting across from them, and laughed at the senselessness of it all, but it kept me amused.

In her article, Atwood in the Twittersphere, Margaret Atwood poses an interesting question, asking “So what’s it all about, this Twitter? Is it signaling, like telegraphs? Is it Zen poetry?” (Atwood). I don’t even think that’s the beginning of explaining what this new craze is. From what I’ve seen over the past 4 years, Twitter provides an outlet to those who wish to speak their mind. I’ve come across tons of different kinds of accounts. Some actually use it professionally, like musicians, athletes, and professors. Others use it just to express their thoughts and to communicate with their friends. My personal favorite kind of accounts are ones that parody other things, such as TV characters.

As I continued to read Margaret Atwood’s article, she stated that someone sent her a tweet saying that “I love it when old ladies blog” (Atwood). I sat here and tried to picture this little old woman behind a laptop, skimming through the thoughts in her head to create a tweet. It just goes to show you how many different kinds of people are able to interact and participate in the Twittersphere or Twitterverse. No matter what coined term you use, this is a different kind of social media outlet that anyone can use. I’ve noticed that Twitter is mostly used by teenagers, celebrities, and super-fans of celebrities, but it’s nice to see the occasional outsider.

Now that I’ve sat here and rambled on about the use of Twitter who uses it, I’m finally going to get the point that I’ve been trying to make about permanence. Earlier I said that most Twitter users speak their mind and use this website to get all of their thoughts out. This is readable to anyone with an Internet connection. Tweets are basically open letters to the world. Once somebody reads your tweet, that’s it. It’s out there. Anyone can retweet it, quote you, save it on their phone or computers, take a picture of it, or send it along to someone else through different social media. Even if you decide to erase your tweet, it’s still there. Everything on the Internet has some kind of permanence.

So how does this affect an individual? You can’t take back what you say. With a website like this, which is accessible to anyone, everyone must be careful with what they say. We have the right to speak freely, but at the same time, this can be a dangerous tool. Those little thoughts that you Tweet might seem harmless, but they will always be there and may come back to haunt you one day. In short, watch what you say.

Love, Hope

PS- Happy tweeting.

Free twitter badge

Free twitter badge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 
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Still Have A Lot To Learn About Technology

            Reading J. D. Bolter’s articles on writing and its connections with technology put me in such a state that I wanted to chuck all of my connections to writing that I own out of my window—my laptop in my lap, my tablet atop my laptop keyboard, a sheet of paper and a pen to the side of my electronic devices that I used to take notes of the articles, and my TV standing on my dresser…which I barely even use—I wanted it all destroyed.

Putting what I was reading, how I went about reading it, and my thoughts about writing in my future into perspective was a jumbled cluster of confidence in my “natural” writing, doubt and feelings of failure in the ways that I attempt to use digital technologies, and confusion by which my dreams of teaching young children were becoming foggy with the question of “how?”

Bolter’s first excerpt I read was, Writing as Technology. In the beginning of my reading, I was feeling good about myself as my beliefs about handwriting were right there on page fifteen:

“Still, the manuscripts were produced at the relatively slow pace of the scribe’s hand, not the insistent rhythm of the machine, and we can see on each page the variations in size and shape of letters that indicate direct human production…we admire the manuscript as art, however, what we admire is the apparent negation of technology, the fact that the codex is not a printed book and therefore not the product of a machine” (Bolter, 15).

As a writer, I stand a firm ground in the appreciation of texts written by hand; even printed texts are okay in my book. However, I am not one to have disbelief in that modern writing technologies today are more effective. I feel comfortable with the Greeks’ translation of techne, which is “a set of rules, system or method of making or doing, whether of the useful arts or the fine arts” (Liddell & Scott, 1973, p. 1,785). I also agree with Bolter’s point, that, “It is not the complexity of the devices that matters so much as the technical or literate frame of the mind” (17). When arriving at the words on page nineteen, however, I was not feeling so comfortable anymore; “The technical and the cultural dimensions of writing are so intimately related that it is not useful to try to separate them…” (19). I took a look at my workplace on my bed, with all of the technologies mentioned earlier surrounding me; shoot. Why I read one article off of my laptop and the other on my tablet while I took notes on both with paper and pen is way too long of a story to explain…however, this situation is not far off of from my usual writing ritual involving digital technologies; it’s always a long and complicated process.

In Bolter’s Introduction: Writing in the Late Age of Print, the line, “The shift is happening throughout our culture, away from patterns and habits of the printed page and toward a new world distinguished by its reliance on electronic communications,” scares me (5). If I can’t even get in sync with digital technologies of today, how am I going to teach children in the future about writing of their time?  When I used to think of my future profession as a preschool teacher, I thought of the library of books with words and pictures that I will put together in my classroom; I thought of those sheets of paper with chunky lines on them that I used as a kid that I would have my students use to practice writing their names. “Can printed picture books hope to compete effectively with broadcast television and interactive video?” (6). Well, only time will tell; however, I can’t keep relying on the things that have made me the writer that I am. I have to get with the times and learn to widen my opportunities in other modernized writing technologies and environments.

Picture Books.

Picture Books. (Photo credit: San José Library) 

I didn’t end up throwing anything out of my window. Although I do not have any answers yet for why I write the way I do, why it’s difficult for me to be more efficient when using digital technologies, and what I am going to do about it in my future career, I need to embrace the idea that I am still a student in college to resolve my problems in writing. It will be readings such as these that will remind me to evaluate my thoughts on and my techniques in writing, and how I can do better in the times ahead.