I was standing in a crowd in New York City, surrounded by total strangers. Around me were flashy lights, funky billboards and holy moly-tourists galore. Such diversity surrounding me, people from across the globe connected through this single moment of surprise and hilarity. To my left-a tall Brazilian man. To my right-a very happy New Yorker, behind me-an old lady and her grandchildren, but what stood before us was a sight I’m sure none of us had ever seen. At least I hadn’t. Two grown men wearing a diaper and a baby mask. As I took a second glance-unsure of what I was seeing, I notice their arms full of hair, tattoos peeking beneath their sleeves and the awkward baby postures they attempted to imitate. This was by far the most bizarre thing I had ever seen that day. As the crowd fills with laughter and flickers of camera lights, my eyes begin to meet with the Brazilian man. He gazed at me and I gazed at him and we both smiled. The old lady to my right asks me if I could take a picture of her and her granddaughters, standing before the men. I used her camera and she thanked me when it was over. A man took a picture with them and I quickly snapped one as well to remember this day. New coming people begin to surround us. Some look disgusted, some just shocked. As time passed, the crowd and I begin to disperse, carrying away the joy and experience that connected us together.
As I’m frolicking around New York, getting lost in its alluring maze, I decide to take various images and recordings of my surroundings using my IPhone. From there, I upload these images/videos to multiple social media accounts. I even search for the nearest clothing stores and tourist attractions. What I notice around my Facebook feeds and Google searches are an immense amount of advertisements. They all illustrate products located in Time Square. It was strange to me because I had never been to New York before. It felt as if my phone was spying on me. In a sense, it was. I am now a target consumer used to help marketers build and maintain a profit. I was tracked through one of my searches and now marketing companies use my historical data to predict whether I’ll respond to their campaigns. I even had an email about other places in New York to visit. This email displayed a photo of New York with its electrifying lights. It also provided a way to watch a live video of what was going on in a theatre in Harlem. This was something I would have to pay for. A problem with that is not only could it have been a scam, but I would much rather go there myself then pay to watch it online. Watching the “Adult babies” online is not even comparable to the memories I had watching them in person. Another disadvantage I see with this is privacy issues. I am definitely afraid of my personal information being collected and possibly used in an unethical way. Especially because business do not always last forever. Sometimes they end up being owned by others or completely gone. By then our personal information is probably either sold or leaked.
This all reminds me of Charlie Brookers “The Entire History of You (S1E3) Black Mirror” One of the female characters in the show had her tracker removed from behind her ear. She had said that it was probably stolen by the Chinese for some profit. This to me is very similar to our data online. Our memories are so sacred to us, just like the information we give out online. It’s a shame to think that our info can be misused. It can be exploited by unethical people to take benefits of vulnerable people or even discriminate against a group of people. Although Data culture brings a lot of benefits in terms of marketing as well as the individual. Privacy, security and misuse of information can still be an issue if not addressed and resolved properly. I also think that once an internet user becomes aware of the issues that would come there way, it is up to them to take responsibility on how much information they put out on there.