Surveillance for Service: Is Facebook stalking you?

 

When you encounter any social media outlet today, you are bombarded with all sort of advertisements that may or may not be tailored to your liking. However, Facebook, has produced a specific algorithm that collects all personal data about you and produces a theorized layout of advertisements and information that you would like, also known as “Algorithmic Surveillance,” as described in Mark Andrejevic’s article “Surveillance in the Digital Enclosure.” Based on Mat Honen’s “Like Everything on Facebook for 48 Hours” experiment, I too had the privilege of “liking” everything on Facebook and experiencing the aftermath of the personalized data feed.

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As I read through Facebook’s Data Policy and Terms of Service, I came across this section called Safety, in which Facebook informs the user that in order to keep their profile safe and private, there are certain actions that are expected of them such as engaging in unlawful multi-level marketing or bullying or harassing another user. I think it is interesting that Facebook uses this “digital enclosure” to not only give you a service but also ask a service from the user, a thought that I overlooked. We unconsciously accept Facebook as a service to us but do not realized that we are participating in a larger trade off with an actual business deal. As I read on, I realized that the safety of my profile is completely up to me and my personal privacy settings.

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In Honen’s article he mentions an interview between Andy Warhol and Art News in which Warhol states that we are all like machines because, “You do the same thing every time. You do it over and over again.” This is a part of viewer society and the synopticon vs. panopticon because we are senselessly adapting to the cultural shift of watching each other more and more as the technological aspects improve. It has become natural to become a part of a synopticon, which in a simple term refers to the countless mass watching the very few. Take for example this Facebook experiment – at least 75% of my news feed consisted of celebrities whom I liked but never truly in depth had the time to analyze. As I continued this experiment into its second day, I had several articles updating me on their latest favorite restaurants, who they were spotted with last night and what they wore to the latest event – hence the mass watching the very few. At the beginning of the experiment, I immediately saw results in advertisement because I would have back to back articles from the same company that I liked. Every article began to duplicate many other related articles and so forth after only a mere hour. Once I got into the swing of things, I began to find myself unconsciously enjoying this simple task. This scopophilia began to come with ease and I found myself in awe of every new amount of information passing my face. This is the habit of just about everyone trapped in this cultural cycle. So next time you decide to “like” anything on Facebook, think twice and remember the specified algorithm that is yours.

Terms of service. (2015, January 30). Retrieved March 21, 2015, from Facebook, Facebook search terms    of service website,  https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms

Data Policy. (2015, January 30). Retrieved March 21, 2015, from Facebook, Facebook data policy website, https://www.facebook.com/about/privacy/

Honan, Matt. “I Liked Everything I Saw on Facebook for Two Days. Here’s What It Did to Me | WIRED.” Wired. 11 Aug. 2014. Web. 21 Mar. 2015.

Andrejevic, Mark. “Surveillance in the Digital Enclosure.” The Communication Review. Web. 21 Mar 2015.

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Wikipedia: The undeniable resourceful resource

Wikipedia, an online “in progress” encyclopedia, is just one of the many controversial topics that are shaping our new technological driven era. As those who hold on aggressively to their own generational divides, many of the youth (and many adults also) grapple on to the ever changing technological, business, and cultural aspects that improve day by day and generation after generation. Wikipedia created a controversy because it took the place of an online encyclopedia with no real substance to solidify its backbone, but at the same time, it questioned whether the knowledge of a community was valid. If human knowledge, brought together by passion, is not accurate then who is to say that we are not already in that technologically controlled era that we so fateful feared?

In my small area of expertise I am quite fond of comic books, one of which (like the many) was adapted to the screen. James O’ Barr produced a very personal series of comics named “The Crow” which was published in 1989 and the adapted on to the screen in 1994.

The Crow (1994 film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 2015-03-08 19-59-13

As I pulled up the Wikipedia article, I did not find any information that was extremely inaccurate. There were no warning of any faults in the article. The page offers a long detailed of the film’s plot from scene to scene. It offers an accurate cast list and then follows with the controversial issue of Brandon Lee’s (Bruce Lee’s son) unfaithful death on set. Many have debated this topic in and outside of the court and this is the one area of the article that could be convicted of a small amount of biased information. How and when Lee died was not fully released to the public because a lot of the information was case sensitive. The Wikipedia page however, explains a detailed incident of the scene that Lee’s character walks into the apartment after grocery shopping and finds his fiancé being raped and tortured by a gang. As Lee walks in the door, a gun (which was supposed to be filled with a dummy round) is fired with enough primer to push the bullet out of the chamber and into Lee’s abdomen. Some might say that this is the wrong scene and that he actually died towards the end of the film where all of the gang members fire at Lee while he stands on a table. Others will add to Wikipedia’s defense and argue that the projectile from the gun was not what pierced Lee’s abdomen but instead a charge that went off inside the grocery bag. Some might say that the film was on such a low budget that the guns used were poorly constructed and that was the cause to the bullet having enough power to shoot Lee. Some might say, this is the most cynical of all I have heard, that the guns were rigged by a Chinese mafia member, which is a conspiracy around Lee’s death in itself that has to do with his father’s involvement in both the American and Chinese film industry. Regardless, the film is dedicated to Lee and his fiancé and the truth about his death will always lie in their hands.

The Crow (1994 film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 2015-03-08 20-00-38

Another interesting aspect of the collective intelligence that Jenkin’s preaches is the use of Wikipedia for extended services such as its feature called Wikiquote. On this page you can find popular quotes listed by character that are said throughout the film. It shows the aspect of a “cult classic” that The Crow has become and shows the dedication of Wikipedians to the film. As Jenkins mentions in his blogs, Wikipedia has brought together people of all generations and allowed them to “think about their own particular skills, knowledge and experience.” In the context of students learning to engage in online research in a different way, Jenkins also mentions how Wikipedia can change the learning experience of these students because it “is no longer about finding the right answer to get a grade on an assignment but producing credible information that others can count upon when they deploy it on some other real word context.” To bring generations together to collaborate successfully on an ongoing project is a powerful tool when building new systems of interaction and education.

The Crow (1994 film) - Wikiquote 2015-03-08 20-02-43

The revision history of the page was also astonishing because it had more than 500 edits since its creation. The film itself was a low budget with low accredited actors at the moment. It was not until Lee’s death that Paramount dropped their contract and the film gained mass amounts of attention. The page to this day, still has edits continuously through the years. We also have to take into account the amount of attention that has been shed due to the talk about a remake of The Crow with O’Barr’s complete creative control promised. If it weren’t for these two events, the film probably wouldn’t have received the attention that it has or the cult classic that it is.

The Crow (1994 film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 2015-03-08 20-01-42

In my opinion, and in experience from reading this accurate article, I would have to take Jenkin’s side. Wikipedia is just one of the many internet portals that bring together passionate people and allow them to all equally to be heard. It excludes race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion and class by being open to all perspective and allows each and every one of us to express our interests in the most human way possible: Through writing. Like I said previously, society has created guidelines to say who is and who isn’t eligible to considered an expert, but there are many people who have taken their non-formal education and achieved the same positions that experts have. So who is to decide whose knowledge is more valuable than others? Wikipedia is a great step in the door of a new education system that will create an enhanced cultural society based on new technologies.

Works Cited:

Jenkins, Henry. “What Wikipedia Can Teach Us About The New Media Literacies (Parts One and Two).” Confessions of an Aca-Fan. WordPress. 26-27 June 2007. Web. 8 March 2015.

Welkos, Robert. “Bruce Lee’s Son, Brandon, killed in Movie accident.” Los Angeles Times. April 1, 1993. Web. March 8 2015.

Wikipedia Contributors. The Crow. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 8 Mar. 2015. Web. 9 Mar. 2015.

The Gotham Chronicles

The DC and Marvel comic brand are widely known for their expression through various forms of media properties and for being quite successful through each outlet. Not only are the comic books widely known as being adapted to the big screen, but they are prominent in video games, action figures, novels, fan based text and the list goes on and on. So it is no wonder that DC’s most popular super hero – Batman – is being revisited in the mainstream by a spin off TV series which begins to give backstory on all of the popular characters. This show is called Gotham, the city in which the Batman series takes place, and it begins by focusing on detective James Gordon and his dealing with the many crimes of Gotham, exposing many of Bruce Wayne’s future enemies. The TV show is in its first season (episode 16) and it getting pulverized by the longtime fans of Batman but at the same time it is widely accepted. Could this have anything to do with Gotham’s interactive newspaper published weekly on TV network Fox’s website? Well let’s find out.

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A series of chronicles that viewer’s can choose from

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A interactive web news article that acts as an update to the Gotham series

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The “Gotham Chronicle” has a series of articles that allows the audience to explore with each episode. It’s main function is to create a sense of “word-building” for the audience. By world-building, the audience is able to create other worlds to explore within the narrative expanding the supporting characters. The Gotham Chronicle gives insight to the latest news in the most recent episodes and past ones. For example, the last episode dealt with a mysterious murder that Jim could not get to the bottom of. So in return, the website creates these “character blogs” in a sense, to keep the viewers up to date with the world within Gotham. The expansion of different worlds has been a great treat to viewers that has been widely discussed and well deserved to the supporting characters.

The potential Joker character is questioned as a suspect to the murder of a carnie.

The potential Joker character is questioned as a suspect to the murder of a carnie.

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Since the comics are the original backstory to this particular superhero and many other superheroes, they have interfered both positively and negatively when transitioning to another form of media. The comics have caused there to be an abundant amount of “additive comprehension” that have caused controversy. As Jenkins mentions in his weblog, “These comics provided back-story which enhanced the viewer’s experience of the film,” but in this case it allowed the viewers to be even more critical of the Gotham series. For example, the latest episode began to introduce Batman’s arch-nemesis The Joker but did not explain if it was actually The Joker or his original alias Red Hood. Dedicated fans began to speculate what the screenwriters of Gotham were referencing and why. The website’s Gotham Chronicle cleared this up with an article specifically focusing on the murder case in which Red Hood was speculated as a possible suspect. Many comics turned films have the problem of “additive comprehension,” because jumping from media form to media form because certain aspects of media outlets need more or less exposition.

The DC Comic franchise is a multination company that will continue to grow through the entertainment industry regardless of which outlet they choose. The Batman series can connect to a wide diversity of people and unlike superheroes who come and go, I think it is safe to say that Batman is the hero that Gotham deserves, but not the one they need right now. So you and I will just have to keep watch on the Gotham series to see this new narrative unfold our long time friend as he seeks his vengeance on his parents’ death.

Sources:

Jenkins, Henry. “Transmedia Storytelling 101.” Confessions of an Aca-Fan. N.p., 22 Mar. 2007. Web. 19 Feb. 2015. <http://henryjenkins.org/2007/03/transmedia_storytelling_101.html&gt;.

DC Comics. “Gotham Chronicle” N.P. FOX 2013 Gotham 2014. Web. 22 Feb. 2015 < Jenkins, Henry. “Transmedia Storytelling 101.” Confessions of an Aca-Fan. N.p., 22 Mar. 2007. Web. 19 Feb. 2015. <http://henryjenkins.org/2007/03/transmedia_storytelling_101.html&gt;.>