I’m being tracked

Before this module I will admit I was never overly fussed about Internet safety or anything like that, I just assumed that because I was young and never posted anything massively revealing online that I would be immune to any possible dangers.

While scrolling through Facebook one day I saw a video of a girl showing how you can see everywhere your ‘bae’ has been by looking on their iPhone privacy settings which keeps a log of each location you have visited and not only that – how long­ you were there! I can’t be the only one to find this worrying as well as a huge invasion of my privacy!

I found a Buzzfeed article that explained more easily how to find this on your phone so you can check like I did and be as freaked out as me!Here is some examples of what my iPhone has found out about me, luckily I recently got a new phone so it doesn’t have too much information on me at the moment.

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This is all the time I was home last week. You can even see that I didnt get home until 2.30 in the morning because I was out in Oceana!

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From this you can see what shifts I did at work on what days.

This strikes me as invasive but how can it be when I have the feature on my phone turned on allowing Apple to track me like this? They claim that it is to get a better feel of places that are important to you so they can update the phone to what’s around you but I’m sceptical of this. Is it okay that the default setting on an iPhone (even when you turn it off when you update it will reset itself) is set to follow where we go and where we stay? I personally am turning this feature off and keeping it that way because I ‘m not  a huge fan of knowing that if I’m trying to hide away somewhere, you could check my phone and probably get there in like five minutes.

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Taylor Swift should just put her album on Spotify already.

I’m sure it’s fair to say that all of us at one point in our lives has illegal downloaded a song or two. I remember when I first started doing so and I was afraid that the police would pull my Mum’s car over, find my iPod and take me straight to jail for it. However becoming a poor student means that I’d risk some jail time to download Adele’s new album because lets be honest, who has a spare tenner for something like that?

TIDAL is a music subscription service similar to Spotify, but it does not have the option to listen for free. It does offer a 30 day free trial and once this is up you immediately get charged either £9.99 or if you’re particularly rich £19.99 a month to stream music. This was set up by Jay Z to ensure that “we’ll spread that money to artists more fairly”. He makes some fair points that people will happily pay similar money for meals out and other luxuries and he says he feels that artists deserve to be paid more for people streaming their music.

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There are some artists such as Taylor Swift or Adele who do not release their music to Spotify and have strict copyright laws on their songs so that even YouTube lyric videos get taken down. The advantages for the artist’s is that people can only access their music after paying for it, meaning that the writers, producers and artists get paid for their work. I personally feel that if all musicians made it impossible to listen to their songs without subscriptions, they may lose huge numbers of followers. Consumers such as younger adults and poor Uni students like us simply can’t afford to pay for these things without buying Sainsbury’s basics Vodka for our pre-drinks and who would wish that on anyone?

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How visible am I on the Internet?

When you google my name there are hundreds of thousands of results and unsurprisingly, I am not the top match. I’m not famous and I’ve never done anything exciting enough to warrant my own Wikipedia page. However, when you go onto Google Images, if you scroll down enough you will find a profile picture of me from around two years ago, pixie haircut and all.

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There I am on my 18th birthday about to do a shot – maybe not a good first impression for future employers?

In terms of my social media, on Facebook my posts are only visible to my ‘friends’ however these include people from primary school who I haven’t seen in over a decade. It’s fair to say I’m unsure if I can trust them with my information. In my about page I have my phone number and birthday, so far I haven’t received any unsolicited texts so I feel like this is a feature most people ignore.

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My instagram has no information about me apart from maybe evidence that I drink far too much.

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I think the most disturbing thing I found was on a website 192.com. From this I found my whole name and part of my address; however this website got my details from the electoral register, something that I never think about in terms of privacy. You do have to sign into the site to see more details but this is what I found the most worrying, which is surprising considering how open I am on social media.

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7 Cups of Tea – An example of how some people are really amazing

The online community that I found is one that I am lucky enough to have never needed, a website called 7 Cups. 7 Cups is an online community and now an app that connects people suffering from any form of emotional distress to trained listeners who attempt to talk them through their problems and help them feel better. This community is an atmosphere where people volunteer their time to help strangers from across the globe, so clearly it tends to be a positive place where people are loving and supportive.

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The users benefit, as when they feel they have no one to talk to there is always a caring community they have access to from any device that has Internet. The Listeners benefit also as they know that they are helping someone in need. I would say the biggest limitation this community faces is that even though the Listeners are trained, they are not counselors and therefore cannot offer conventional therapy that the users may need in the long run. This may mean that users become dependent on the service as opposed to seeking the help they need.

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I feel the benefits outweigh the limitations for this community and if any of you ever feel the stress of University is too much or if you feel like you could help someone this is a great place to go.

My Idol – Jenna Marbles

Since I was fifteen years old I have been watching a woman called Jenna Mourey – better known as Jenna Marbles – create comedy videos on YouTube. Her first viral video ‪How to trick people into thinking you’re good looking was a huge hit with young girls as it touched on the reality of how we put on make up to make ourselves look amazing (even though we are all beautiful without it as well). Her original content was fairly unprofessional and she would create content that she found amusing.

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Over the past five years Jenna has gained over 50 million subscribers and is one of the most powerful female Youtubers. A lot of this is due to audience participation. Jenna now has a Facebook page where fans can comment and suggest videos they would like her to make. Her most recent video  uploaded on the 18th February was suggested by a young girl on her page and received over a million views. Having a space where people can express what they want to see has allowed the audience to become a part of the creative process and so now they feel more involved and happier to watch the videos, as they feel they have contributed.

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 21.12.31.pngThe commenter who suggested the idea and the corresponding video.

This culture of audience participation has helped the YouTube community greatly as people feel as if they are helping their idols. If I suggested an idea and Jenna created a video of it, I would talk about it for the rest of my life (but that’s just me).

Fallout or new beginning?

I have many memories of my childhood, some of which revolve around watching my Dad play resident evil on the original PlayStation, although looking back maybe playing a game about brutally killing zombies around your one-year-old daughter isn’t the best parenting style. Games consoles have improved massively over the past twenty years and media convergence now means that there are many new things that can add to a gaming experience.

Now me – being a master gift giver – bought my Dad the new Fallout 4 game (that sold 12 million copies at launch) for my Dad on his birthday last year and there was something interesting that had been added to the gameplay. The game also had an accompanying app for your phone where you could check your inventory, change weapons and level yourself up all without pausing the game. Media convergence has allowed this to develop so that newer media can be used in conjunction with the older style of game playing so that users don’t lose interest in something which has been around since the days of Sonic the Hedgehog , which was playable on the original PlayStation since 1996.

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The Pip-Boy app shown on an iPhone.

This new addition to console gaming has many implications for media in the future, in the way that people nowadays would never buy a game without sound or speech does this mean that newer games will all need accompanying new media such as apps to keep the public’s interest and therefore make profit? This app may have changed how games will be played in years to come and it is exciting to think of what other add-ons new media will bring to gaming in the future.

Box of Broadcasts

I am currently studying Television Production and – as much as I enjoy it – Netflix is not the best resource for finding programmes to inspire future projects (mostly because I usually end up watching seven seasons of Buffy in two days).

Although there are catch up sites out there, it can be tedious scrolling through Iplayer and All4 to find the show you want. Box of Broadcasts is an online resource where you can search for hundreds of programmes as well as creating your own playlists, recording shows and creating clips all in one place just by signing in with your Westminster ID. For example I currently need to watch opening titles of a Television show and analyse them and instead of having to scroll through YouTube to find something convenient, I have shows at my fingertips so I can chose something I genuinely enjoy and can write passionately about.

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Box of Broadcasts is an amazing resource not only for the people studying on my course. It can be used by everyone to find material for essays, find inspiration for new works or even to take up time if you’re bored in your room and you’ve already blown through all the good series on Netflix (like I have).

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