First, since a few of you have written to ask me about the “provisional intro/argument” for paper 3 for Monday, here’s a little more information on what to be thinking about: this is a chance for you to do some provisional thinking about what you want to say about the topic, and we’ll do some workshopping of these pieces in class Monday, so make sure to bring a hard copy. It doesn’t have to be a fully polished intro paragraph — the most important thing is to lay out an initial sense of what you might argue and focus on. And now onto the regular blog…
This blog post both builds on some of our thinking about Netflix’s data profiling in our last class and also looks back to some of our first material in the course through new eyes. Watson’s article challenges us to think about the complex ways in which our selves as data both resemble and distort our “real” offline selves in strange ways (as you read, take a look at the article itself online so you can access the links in it and the images, some of which don’t come through in the print version.
So this blog post is a chance to explore those issues first-hand. After you read Watson’s article, you should examine your own data profile on Facebook — to do this, look in this FAQ. You can look in the instructions under “How can I adjust how ads are targeted to me based on my activity on or off of Facebook?” to see how to find information about your ad settings overall, and “What are my ad preferences and how can I adjust them?” for instructions on how to find information on a particular ad.
Once you’ve explored your profile, do some writing to analyze it in connection with Watson’s article, quoting and discussing her writing to frame your analysis. How does your ad profile resemble and differ from how you imagine your own identity, online and offline? How does what you find about that profile confirm or complicate what Watson claims? What’s important about those relations — how do we have to think about ourselves online differently in light of what you see here?
Reminder: your response should go in the comments section for this post — click the “Leave a Comment” link at the top of the post. It should be at least 250 words, and is due by 11:59pm on Sunday, November 4th. If you have any questions, let me know via email.