I Finally Understand

When I signed up for this class, I thought I was already an expert on social media and digital businesses. I was an avid user of Facebook and Instagram, I had an Amazon Prime Account, and I used Uber several times a week. However, I had a very surface level view of these platforms. I had never considered the real implications behind them.

I thought it was normal that cookies were being used to personalize the ads that I saw. I had never questioned getting into an Uber or staying at an Airbnb. My parents always told me as a child not to get into a car with strangers but I didn’t really think of getting into an Uber like that.

It wasn’t until I watched Joe Gebbia’s Ted Talk and he began by telling the story of how he “almost got kidnapped.” As Gebbia was talking about his experience hosting a random guy he met at a yard sale, I thought he was insane and the story would end in a tragedy but it actually led to the creation of Airbnb.

This video made me question my choices. I trusted Uber and Airbnb as companies. But these companies are part of the sharing economy. In addition to trusting the company, you should probably trust the person driving you around. Uber and Airbnb were well-established companies when I began using them, so I never even considered that they could be creepy and not cool. Basically, I was just behind on the technology.

Throughout this semester, I have become much more aware of new technologies, which has allowed me to think critically of them. When Amazon Key was brought up in our Twitter discussion, I did not think I would be comfortable with it. Why would I want an Amazon employee that I don’t know in my house? What if they steal from me or break something? Or let my dog out?

 

 

But even throughout the discussion, my attitude changed. I realized that it might not be so bad. There are cameras, Amazon would do background checks on their employees, and any issues would lead to the employee losing their jobs so hopefully they wouldn’t do anything wrong. All of a sudden I didn’t find this to be totally creepy anymore,

 

 

Because of this class, I am more aware of the advancements that Apple, Google, Amazon and other tech giants are making. I have been able to look at new features and technologies and make my own judgments. Instead of being late to the party and accepting them because everyone else already had, I was able to think about the possible benefits and risks for myself.

I realized that I had always put a lot of trust into these tech companies. I allow for Google to collect my data, I get into stranger’s cars, and I would definitely allow for an Amazon employee to walk into my house and make a delivery. However, I’m now aware that I’m putting my trust into these companies, as opposed to seeing this all as completely normal.  

5 comments

  1. I liked how at the end you made the explicit difference between giving these companies our personal information so feely as normal versus as being perceived a level of trust. As long as we are all aware of what we are doing and continue to freely give up our information in exchange for convenience, I don’t see a problem with it. However, it seems to be getting to the point where it will be impossible to thrive in society without giving up some of this information (it is impossible to do most jobs without using the internet and thus providing Google with enormous amounts of information about us, as it is impossible to keep up with social trends without interacting on social media, etc.). Therefore, while we think we might be freely giving up this information now, there will be a day where we might not have a choice.

  2. Interesting reflection. I liked your last point about actively realizing that you are putting a lot of trust in these companies after taking this class. I think that is something that I learned in this class too. When you start asking questions about all of the info your giving up, you start to feel its a little creepy but once you realize why you are giving it up, you end up thinking its cool.

  3. I think I’m our resident definitely creepy not cool, but it has been interesting to think more about trust and the sharing economy. I loved the idea of having an online persona that’s linked to all these things, because I’d be more likely to trust a persona that’s linked to a job, a school experience, etc. The idea that people could throw parties in my home and just make a new Airbnb account is EXACTLY what makes me not want to rent out my apartment. It’ll be interesting to see how this evolves.

  4. This was really relatable– I definitely entered the class without questioning the companies that I’ve giving so much trust to, and I think one of my biggest take aways is the importance to question whether this is a smart move and also whether it really is a decision anymore. In a lot of cases if we decide not to trust a company we’re severely limiting our abilities. For example, if we decide not to trust Facebook, Snapchat, or Twitter we are in many ways isolating ourselves and limiting our social connections. As technology has become a bigger part of our world the “option” to opt out seems to be dwindling. Great post!

  5. I feel that trust was a big topic in this class. The way that these companies have been so successful at gaining their consumer trust is so astounding to me. I don’t think that before this class, I thought very critically about these apps and I really appreciated being challenged to analyze how these tech companies became as successful as they are.

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