I stopped using and deactivated my Facebook account my senior year of high school when Ashton and Demi and Olympic athlete tweet scandals made Twitter the next big thing. But my Twitter archive didn’t get here on time so I was stuck reactivating my Facebook account and looking through a really embarrassing archive that actually prompted me to login to my Facebook account and delete some of the older, fatter pictures. The biggest surprises for me was that it listed all my previous names, which made me wish could remember (actually maybe not) why I once listed by Facebook name as “Griffin Van de Kamp,” and all my previous “Facebook-official” relationships from high school which made me laugh. It listed all the people I had previously set as my “brothers” and “sisters” (that were really just my friends, that I don’t even talk to now) and it was kind of a weird but fun trip down memory lane I.
My Facebook archive profile lists my place of employment as “The Bluth Company” which just makes me want to pat my high school self on the back for being so damn cool. I thought it was kind of bizarre that anyone would want to do this (download their data) on their own for any reason besides maybe getting pictures that they had lost because the whole thing appeared on my computer as a strange profile page html file and an unconnected collection of picture files that were pretty difficult to navigate. I guess not having logged in for years gives me a unique perspective on this assignment because not only does it provide a look into my life 4 years ago, it made me think “This stuff is still here!?” which really drives home the point that the readings for Thursday made– that everything on line lasts forever and none of it is private.
The Marwick reading made me wonder if I was getting online targeted advertising based on my Facebook data, and what category that would place me in (probably “waste”) especially since I once got into a contest with one of my friends to see who could “like” more stuff and as a result of that contest the advertising companies have over 1000 interests of mine to cater their advertising to. I thought this exercise was really interesting because without it, I never would have downloaded my Facebook user data. Additionally, without this assignment I never would have found that Facebook user data is an interesting time capsule of information that you thought was forgotten. Mine in particular was like a snapshot of my high school life, where I checked Facebook first thing when I got up every morning. The fact that there’s a perfect fossil of that time in my life, floating out in cyberspace, listing all my past names and relationships feels a little creepy. I feel a little bit creeped out, like those moms that got ads for baby stuff from Target. I also wonder, since you can’t delete your Facebook you can only deactivate it, if there’s any way to remove this information from the net forever because it is embarrassing.
I’ve attached an article from the Times about how Facebook has started letting people change their ad profiles in order to personally make the ads they see more targeted, and it makes me glad I deactivated my account right away after downloading my data for this assignment because I am not gonna help any company advertise better without getting paid for it.