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.