WEEK 5 DISCUSSION
Welcome to WELCOME to the discussion for WEEK 5. Please respond in complete sentences for each question, unless directed to do otherwise, demonstrating in your reply that you have read the material in order to receive full credit.
Topic 1: The Curlie Fry Conundrum
This week you watched The curly fry conundrum: Why social media “likes” say more than you think by Jennifer Golbeck.
The goal of Golbeck’s Ted Talk presentation is to make people aware that (a) data is being collected about you, (b) companies are profiting from this data, (c) you don’t have a lot of power to prevent your data from being collected, and (d) you SHOULD have control over how your data is being used and who is using it. She also brainstorms ways users could regain control of their data through the legal system or by having companies modify their data collection policies.
Goldbeck’s discussion of Target is very relevant. Target is renowned in the industry for its data collection practices. Target maintains a customer relationship management database which includes information from in-store purchases (they link all of your purchases to a unique identifier) and data they collect externally (e.g. data from Facebook and other sources). Combine the two data streams and Target can predict, with very good certainly, what your gender is, where you live, how far you travel to work, your relationship status, and they can even tell if you are pregnant, and if so, when you are due. The amount of money spent each year in pregnancy-related purchases is tremendous. In efforts to win the market share in this profit area, Target has hired a team of statisticians to perform predictive analysis. The goal, in this particular situation, is to predict which women are expecting (or soon to be), without asking them directly, by analyzing their purchasing behavior (e.g. cribs, baby clothes, prenatal vitamins, etc). This way Target can “target” this particular demographic (with coupons, discounts, and other offers) early in the process, thus getting a jump on the competition. Goldbeck mentioned an example where a father stormed down to Target to complain about his young young daughter receiving pregnancy-related coupons in the mail only later to find out his daughter was pregnant.
What are you thoughts about companies collecting data about you? Do you feel this type of data collection is a beneficial or detrimental? Why? Do you feel you have a right to know what data companies are collecting about you? Does this concern you as a consumer?
Topic 2: Filter Bubbles
This week you watched Beware Online “Filter Bubbles” by Eli Pariser.
If you and I performed a Google Internet search on a topic, we could get totally different results. How is this possible? Pariser discusses how web companies, in attempts to provide us with user-specific content based on the data they collect on us, may also be restricting us from information and “narrowing our world view.”
What are you thoughts on this presentation? Have you ever encountered a Filter Bubble? Do you think companies like Facebook and Google have a civic responsibility in this area?
Minimum Topic Response: Word Count = 70 (per topic).