This is reflection #2 - Web Hosting (

Debi Cruse
Reflection 2
September 18, 2012
English 303
Is Internet privacy an oxymoron? or
Why use social media sites
Though the internet is still in its infancy, it has grown and continues to grow
at such an alarming rate that any guidelines, rules or policies created to regulate the
internet cannot keep up with the ever changing pace of cyberspace. The internet
has revolutionized not only how we learn and obtain information, but also how we
communicate. We can send emails to a co-worker on the other side of the city or
Skype with a friend on the other side of the world in real time and we’re able to see
them while talking to them.
Social media sites like MySpace, Linkedln and Facebook offers individuals the
opportunity of letting friends and family (and anyone else who’s peeping) know
what’s going on in your life. But, with this new communication tool that lets Aunt
Mary know about little Suzie’s birthday party, comes the concern that other
unknown visitors to your site may also see the information you post, including the
message that lets viewers know that you’re going to be out of town for two weeks
which leaves your home unoccupied and unprotected.
Social network sites have rapidly become one of the fastest growing and
most used sites on the internet. These sites offer services that people want. I was
thrilled a couple years ago to connect with an old friend that I hadn’t seen since
ninth grade. We were able to catch up with what had been going on in our lives:
marriage, children, divorce, parents and whatever else happened to come up. I saw
pictures of her children, their vacations and her daughter’s wedding. This was a
wonderful experience, connecting after all of these years. And I must say that there
are times when the internet is a light shining on the world, but, there is also a dark
Social media sites aren’t just visited by family, friends and long-lost comrades
wanting to re-connect or stay connected, these sites are also visited by stalkers,
scam artists, sexual predators, and thieves wanting to steal the identities of people.
Scam artists can gather information about your life and others that you associate
with just by surfing your social media page from time to time. Farhad Manjoo
asserts in his article, Can We Get Some Privacy?, that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
is to blame for the lack of privacy on Facebook and should be held responsible; I
disagree. Zuckerberg isn’t the one who places all of the information, comments and
pictures on the Facebook pages of the more than eight million users who currently
have a Facebook page. For the most part, people want other individuals to view
their information. They want to know that other individuals find their life
interesting enough to re-visit their page time and again, while others want to put
information out there to attract new people to ‘friend’ as a way of achieving
celebrity-like status. Still others use social media sites to voice their opinions or
push their agendas, such as members of political parties, the clergy and members of
the legislature. Individuals also use social media sites because they’re lonely, timid
or unsure of themselves in physical social circles. On social media sites, people don’t
really have to talk face-to-face with one another. Individuals can also create an
‘avatar’ type of individual with personality traits, looks and character that they want
to have for themselves. A woman I once knew used these very tactics to perpetrate
a fraud within her marriage and to deceive the lover she was trying to lure into her
life. She created a Facebook page with a false profile, even going so far as to use a
picture of her daughter (they look amazingly alike) as her own. Of course her little
plan eventually caught up with her resulting in a divorce and estrangement from her
daughter. There is no privacy on the internet! The internet is like a giant camera,
taking snapshots of all the sites you surf, what you purchase and who you visit.
Manjoo also states that, “You can only screw people for so long before it catches up
to you.” People are responsible for the content that they voluntarily place on social
media sites, not Zuckerberg or any other social media CEO. He also mentions that a
project called Diaspora, is being developed as an alternative social media site that
doesn’t rely on a single company or website to host all of the data of users; thereby
giving people more control over their own information. Once again, people already
have control over what they put on the internet. They are the ones who place it
there. As a side note, I can only assure that they chose to name their site Diaspora,
because they hope there will be a major migration from Facebook to their social
media site once it’s in the completion stage.
Social sites aren’t the only place where personal information is gathered.
Web sites use web bugs to track who is viewing their pages. Cookies, which are bits
of information sent to users’ browsers, are used as well to save information about
visitors to their sites in order to use when they return. This information is also
often relayed to advertising clearinghouses who then share it with marketing
companies who then target the individuals with ads to purchase various products.
With so much of our lives now available to the viewing public, perhaps
George Orwell’s novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, with its notorious line, “Big Brother is
watching you,” has come home to nest on the internet under the ever watchful eyes
of the masses.