My project focuses on Pattern Recognition by William Gibson, specifically how Cayce’s “allergies” change throughout the novel, and I compared this to Immersion, a digital platform that analyzes Gmail accounts in order produce relationship webs based on the user’s data. I used the concept of targeted advertising to weave these two subjects together. Each artifact has an underlying message that revolves around this method of collecting patterns, analyzing information, and storing data. The idea of targeted advertising has consumers threatening to stop using the Internet all together; however, my purpose for this comparison was to prove that technology empowers humans with control and emphasizes the importance of human interaction. After proving Cayce’s humanness, my analysis dives into illustrating ways in which technology, like Immersion, gives humans control over emotions, self-awareness, and choices. As I continued on with my research, it became more and more evident how much technology revolves around human interaction. First of all, technology is created, designed, and developed by humans. Secondly, humans are needed in order to give technological outputs meanings. Technology has no emotions and its data would be meaningless if not interpreted by humans.
My project takes the form of a paper that contains my primary argument and then an online post provides supplemental charts and videos. I created this online post on the course website, and I submitted my paper on BlackBoard. My online post can be found here: http://lindsaythomas.net/engl3490/2015/04/30/digital-portion-targeted-advertising-and-control-across-digital-and-print-media/.
I chose this type of media for my multimodal analysis to reiterate my main argument. I could not have created this project without technology, and technology empowered me with knowledge about myself and control over my choices. I chose to allow Immersion access to my Gmail account for the purpose of this project, and I posted these results in my online post. Because of certain settings in technology, I was able to edit these documents to erase any personal information, such as names, before posting them online. I was also able to revoke Immersion’s access to my Gmail account after completing the project, giving myself complete control over my privacy. By posting these results online, I was allowing the public to access them; however, they are meaningless art projects to everyone except me. When I saw them, I immediately began to construct stories about my email usage and interpret these pictures. In order to create meaning for other viewers, I provided brief descriptions of each chart in order to clarify their purpose, and I pointed out specific relationships within these charts. This technology allowed me to gain more self-awareness about my email relationships.
Since technology relies on humans to create meaning through interaction, these charts will sit meaninglessly on the Internet waiting for humans to interact with them to give them life. The video I included on my post explicitly show the founders of Immersion interacting with the technology and explaining the purpose and ideas behind it. Among other things, this shows how technology is a product of the human mind. I also included a direct link to the Immersion website so others can “immerse” themselves in this technology. The same video can also be found on this website; however, I included directly into my post to encourage users interact with my post.
For both modes of media I used, I had to interact with technology. I relied on this technology in order for me to type my paper and create my digital post, and both modes empowered me with the ability to encourage future interaction between humans and technology. These interactions need to be embraced, and they show that although technology is a component of targeted adverting, it is not something to be afraid of–it is simply an interaction between humans and technology.