Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Webo-plasmosis - can you smell the cat's urine?

Thank you Michael Caulfield for another post in the Traces series. The idea that the way we manage our social-media life is pliable and actually mould-able by the medium itself is compelling. Using a cat toxoplasma example, he warns that, just like the mice from that example who no longer smell the cat's urine, increasingly we no longer worry about the way we share details of our lives.  

This is his list to check whether you have Webo-Plasmosis:

"The hard truth of this matter is that you may not know you are infected. The world, in fact, is filled with humans affected by the related disease toxoplasmosis who don't realize it, even as they take on their 19th cat in a house reeking of urine. It's the same with webo-plasmosis: a sign of being infected is ceasing to realize you have been affected. Here's a partial list of symptoms:
  1. Do you retweet headlines you agree with to help Facebook build a profile of you, while not reading the articles?
  2. Do you take pictures of your food, helpfully labelling your dietary habits, consumption patterns, and common meal ingredients?
  3. Have you become an email hoarder, never bulk deleting old email on fear "you might need it someday", thereby preserving the vast library of documents Google needs to model your affinities, desires, and personal secrets?
  4. When something happens to you of note, do you feel compelled to log it on the web?
  5. Do you join Facebook groups that best express who you are?
  6. Do you use Amazon Alexa's much touted "Shopping List" feature to build a list of things you intend to buy locally, so that Amazon now has a list of things you buy locally?
  7. Do you wince at the thought of taking old tweets offline, because of all the "old memories" stored in tweets you haven't looked at for five years?
  8. Do you authenticate into third-party services using Twitter, Facebook, and Google identity so that they can better track your online behavior?
  9. Do you never use aliases or pseudonyms online, and are you convinced that this "transparency" somehow makes you a "more honest person"?
  10. Do you find yourself posting lists of bands you've seen, or asking friends to share "one memory they have about you"?"

You are infected with the virus if you do two or more of the above. Worrying...

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