Online accounts and contributions to websites over the last 10 or so years that I have been using the internet are absolutely massive when compared to the physical media contributions that I have made. In fact I think I’ve only ever been in a local newspaper once and now I have a blog in which I’ve published over 150 articles and had over 35,000 views and over 15,000 individual viewers. Having a blog has allowed me to publish my thought’s and opinions about whatever, whenever I want. It’s made them accessible to whoever even types my name into Google. I personally am expanding the internet in a similar to way all the internet giants you can think of like Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon and Twitter. The internet is forever expanding and almost every single one of us that uses it or has an account with a website is contributing to that. Below is a list of Websites I a a member of and their particular categories and what I think about each one.
Retail websites are interesting in their way of gathering data about me, everything I buy, everything I look at whilst logged in, will be stored. It is there for them to use an algorithm to show me recommended products based on the data I have provided. I’m helping these websites sell me more.
Ethically, it could be argued that these websites are gathering too much personal data about me and encouraging me to buy things I would not usually want too purchase. On the other hand, it could be argued that by recommending products to me they may actually be helping me find things that could benefit me in day-to-day life. In terms of online reputation, accounts on websites like Amazon and Play where you can make public wishlists, an employer or somebody looking to find out information about could look too see the types of items I have on my list and see whether I’m a complete odd ball that wouldn’t fit in with their business or whether I’m rather sane and would be a perfect fit in the workplace. A similar thing goes for LOVEFiLM that also has features such as sharing what movie’s you are going to rent with Facebook and Twitter further sharing information about myself with a wider audience. Another way retail websites could effect my reputation is through eBay and the “Feedback feature”. If somebody knew my username for eBay they could look and find out whether I’ve paid on time for products before and whether I’ve sent items in the post that people have paid for. This in my opinion is a fair representation of how you deal with people in a business environment however sometimes people could leave feedback that is out of your control which could tarnish a persons reputation without them having much of a choice.
Another aspect to all retail websites that I am a member of is that they offer reviewing features and rating systems. This allows you to review products and services that these businesses offer and that can help them with many things such a choosing new products and by doing this you are also helping the website grow, a review can warrant a page on most websites which helps increase the chances of showing up in a search engine and making a sale. It is crucial to all retail businesses that search results and search engine optimisation are at their best. Despite helping all these websites grow, despite buying their products and reviewing them, there is nothing in it for me. They benefit from me spending time on their website and what do I get in return. Nothing.
Social websites are perhaps the most controversial when it comes to the privacy and reputation on the internet. Facebook has had some notorious and infamous legal problems with it’s privacy structure and how it gathers data about the users. I have my FaceBook settings on maximum privacy for everything trying to only show my information and data to people who I have granted access to them by “friending” them. I have heard people tell me that they have seen my Facebook without being a friend of mine though. Also if somebody knows a friend of mine who is willing to show them my Facebook (I don’t doubt I’ve a few in my list of 714 friends), they can see all I’ve put up onto the website, which includes 3400 photographs of me (the majority of which i’m drunk in), statuses from years ago expressing opinions that have completely changed and even lists of the music I’ve listened to recently. All of these can change people’s perception of what I am like. The reality of Facebook is that it should really only be for your very close friends which is why I share a private group on Facebook with the people that I am actually close with and that know everything about me can see. If someone was to meet me and assume that everything that is on my Facebook represents who I am as a person I’m sure they’d be deeply disappointed to find that I’m not always drunk, not always making jokes and that I’ve never actually worked for the fictional company, Aperture Science.
Twitter is a new(ish) phenomenon that I absolutely love. I’ve found twitter to be the perfect tool for getting stuff off my chest, for communicating with friends and just joking around. Just like Facebook though, Twitter is one massive joke. All I use Twitter for is banter with friends, angrily ranting about things that aren’t anywhere near as a bigger problem as I make out and promoting my website. Actually, I also read some celebrities tweets and find out various bits of information in condense messages from people I like. The truth is, Twitter is awesome, but, like Facebook it doesn’t really represent what I am like as a person and I bet you somewhere in the 5000 odd tweets I’ve done there is some I would regret if people saw them. In fact, if I ever got famous I guarantee most of my Tweets, Facebook pictures and Blog posts would be used against me in one of those tacky magazines or the daily mail. That wouldn’t stop me using it though. I love what Twitter and Facebook have done for me as a person and despite the fact I know that I would be considered too be sharing too much personal information by some, I couldn’t care less. You can find out about me as a real person when I see you in real life, if I don’t see you in real life and your reading my twitter and forming an opinion about me regardless of whether it’s positive or not, I’ve no need to worry. One of the great things about the internet is whenever abuse comes about it can be avoided, you can block just about anyone from any service these days and so long as it doesn’t effect you in real life, it doesn’t matter.
If I was too look at my best friend’s Facebook, it has a very similar aspect of seriousness to it as mine. You can take the groups or pages that he has liked for example. They are not things a potential employer would be looking for such as a page on the “Investment Society” he is a member of at his university. They are more along the lines of “That awkward moment when you keep pushing a pull door” and “The tense moment you wait for your penny change at a 99p store”. All in all it depicts him as he is with me, but not how he would be with certain groups of people. If you think about it you wouldn’t behave in the same way you would with your mates on holiday in Ibiza as you would when your in the office at work. This is why having a LinkedIn account and a Facebook account is necessary when you become a working adult. It is also important to be careful who you would accept as a friend on Facebook because they may be looking for information about you for the wrong reasons or too check whether you are a sensible down to earth person which I don’t think is what Facebook is about. It’s about the social aspects of life not the work.