Transforming Social Media through Identities

The first article I read was called Opinion Leaders: Much More Willing To Be Paid For Social-Network Referrals. This article was about how much your opinion for a product is worth that you promote online. This article covers both intrinsic and extrinsic ways of promoting a product; intrinsic being basically for improving your “social status” and extrinsic being promoting for the money. Researchers Wonjnicki and Shi, conducted an experiment and found that with intrinsic referrals people and “opinion leaders” were less likely to refer rather than when they were more likely to do so with extrinsic referrals. Seeing the difference in referrals due to just money made the researchers conclude that getting paid for advertising doesn’t matter to people for those of high opinion and social status, like “opinion leaders”.

Reflecting on this article, I’ve come to realize through your “digital identity” on social media, you’re worth more if you’re social sphere is larger and has greater impact than one who doesn’t have as many people in their sphere. Basically on social media, your identity isn’t related to who you are as a person necessarily, but is worth how many followers you have.

The second article I read was called It’s Your Data – But Others are Making Billions Off Of It. This article was about monetizing your data online, how it’s growing and how you can benefit from it. The beginning of the article states that ability for technology to grow both in advancement and monetarily is happening right now. They move onto talking about how the right to privacy is difficult to have with social media because of the right to publicity from free websites that are collecting your data. Havens then goes on to say that people should be in control of the sale surrounding your data, so you can control what goes into it. Havens ends the article with a quote summarizing his point of how people should forget the argument of having privacy online due to the fact it’s basically unattainable. “It’s time to move on. It’s time to rip the veil from the discussions of privacy, and focus on identity and monetization”

Reflecting on this article, I believe that even though most social media accounts are free, you are paying in some type of way. For example, you pay for free services like yik yak and snapchat by being an avid user who puts data into their company. Without you paying your information to these applications, they’d have no way to monetize the applications themselves or collect data on their users. You are paying your information in any social networking system.

The last article I read was called Google’s Algorithm Shows Prestigious Job Ads to Men, but Not to Women. Here’s Why that Should Worry You. This article talks about Google’s search results that show up for you dependent on your history and background, such as race or gender. This article states that the algorithms are actually sexist and that if one searches for a new job with a brand new, clean identity one will get 1852 results of ads for executive jobs but only 318 for women. Two possible theories as to why these search results differ are: “It’s part of a cycle: How people perceive things affects the search results, which affect how people perceive things” or Google’s response, “the advertiser in question could have specified that the ad only been shown to certain users for a whole host of reasons”. In either case, there seems to be some injustice in the algorithms shown here.

Reflecting on this article, I think that Google’s search results are biased but it’s not entirely Google’s fault. It all comes down to the data people search and put into Google, which in turn affects the search results. I also think that if an advertiser requested to have a high paying job only directed to male users instead of females for no good reason, that it’s unethical for Google to sponsor those ads.



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