Team 5 Synthesis

Annabeth Wonch

While our discussion of Lanier’s “You Are Not a Gadget” strayed from some of the main topics of the book, I think our group covered some issues that we as avid internet users face every day: how much privacy do we deserve? and when does casual internet use become obsession?

Lanier discussed lock-in and how programs and devices are being created around the original prototype, which may not always be the best thing as everything else in the world progresses. I think as users we face the same things, Facebook, as of now, is our most sensible means of online social media. We have no other alternatives, and are forced to use it and therefore our actions on it depend on its updates, etc. I was fascinated that no one ever said that they would give up Facebook. I assume there opinions would change if an incredibly invasive feature was introduced, but I don’t think everyone would have agreed to Facebook’s present day features two years ago.

I was particularly interested in Lanier’s suggested rules of the internet. I think his ideas about posting anonymously are ones we should definitely try to live by. One person mentioned in their answer to our Question 3 about how people would care so much about an opinion if their own name was attached to it. Which I think is very true, I think once you are identifiable, the amount of thought you would put into something before posting it on the internet would increase exponentially. I’m sure there are a lot of people out there that do not care what people think of their opinion, but I think there are a significant number that do care. I personally make sure to read over something a few times before I click “share” on Facebook because I know a lot of people will see that “Annabeth Wonch” said that. Even though I think people appreciate the dumb and thoughtless things posted on the internet, I think people would be more quick to trust it as a reliable place for information if they knew a decent amount of time was spent on each post. I also think that this would make people more willing to pay for the time spent on the internet and the resources used.

Jay Speidell

The discussion of Tuesday went in some unexpected directions. I expected more opposition to the idea of having their name attached to everything they put on the internet as well as corporate control of the internet. The topic dominated much of the discussion, and it seems like many are willing, if not eager, to move away from the current structure of the internet, which could be compared to the romanticized American frontier.

Going along with the questions, we brought up the Korean law that requires each post to be digitally signed with the poster's identity. The class spent a decent amount of time discussing the ramifications of such a policy, and how much more thought would go into each post if everyone knew who posted it.

The anonymity of the internet has turned it into somewhat of a wasteland, and it seems like many people are willing to pay more and give up a few things in exchange for structure and, most importantly, quality. With names tied to all of the content, and a significant investment required to put something up, the idea is that everything on the internet will have a greater standard of quality and less things like harassment, as was discussed in the previous class with VT No Pants, will no longer occur or will at least be traceable.

*Casey Whitehead*

I believe that the discussion went well during our presentation, though it did stray from topic several times. I believe our group chose questions that were able to spark a lively conversation that many members of the class had strong opinions on.

The discussion on anonymity was interesting to see that many people believe that it is our society’s responsibility to monitor each other and our own actions on the internet. One response in particular struck me that the comments online show a very negative view of our society. That in other countries trolling and online bullying isn’t an issue, that it is our fault as a society that these things happen. This opinion was refuted in class and examples of worse situations were given but I think it was interesting to hear this idea discussed. I think a general consensus was reached that if the internet rid itself of anonymity many good things could happen, however many question if people are willing to give up some of their freedoms for these benefits.

Privacy is another concern that our class has discussed and was related to Lanier’s book. It seems our discussion has brought to light that we as a group have not reached our threshold of privacy invasion. Our lives are being exploited on sites like Facebook. Many things are exposed that some of us would rather it not be, like See Friendship page; however we are not so upset about it that we put in an effort to create change. I think the class realized this however did not see it as a problem yet. We were not able to find the answer to the question how much will we let the internet into our lives, but we did discuss it in depth. I think a huge discouragement was that our opinions don’t really matter; which was backed up with the example of the BT issues. If students can’t change a BT route then how can we change the internet?