Another 24 Hour Media Diary

In today’s digital age, our interactions with media go beyond passive consumption. Every scroll, click, or like feeds into our huge digital ecosystem, helping platforms understand us better, sometimes even better than we know ourselves. Have you ever paused to think about how your online behavior not only reflects but also divulges personal data?

As you may remember, we previously dedicated a 24-hour period to observing our media consumption habits. For this week’s assignment, we will shift our focus on the data we distribute while engaging with various media platforms.

My 24-hour media diary for this week will not only list the media I interacted with but will also scrutinize the data and information I’m potentially sharing. Let’s dive into it!!

8:00 am: Wake Up & Check Instagram

My alarm goes off, and I’m immediately on Instagram. It’s a habit, but I start wondering what kind of data I’m giving out. Personal data like my age and location are already stored, but every morning my ‘Likes’ and ‘Follows’ give out more about my interests.

Do I know Instagram’s privacy settings inside-out? Not even close. I’ve scrolled through them but haven’t taken a deep dive. My interests and clicks could be shared with Meta’s data network. And yes, that post about pet adoption could very well be funneling more pet care ads my way.

10:00am: Email & Schoolwork on Canvas

Canvas isn’t social media, but it’s a data-collecting platform for sure. It logs my academic behavior: the chapters I read, the quizzes I take, the time I spend on the platform.

As a student, I don’t have much choice but to share this data with the educational institution. But it’s worth mentioning that I don’t ever see promoted content on Canvas. My data on here likely informs academic decisions rather than ad targeting.

1:30pm: LinkedIn                   

After lunch, I check LinkedIn. Now, this platform is a mix of professional and personal data. By liking posts about sustainable business practices today, I’m making a political statement of sorts.

LinkedIn’s privacy settings are something I’ve toyed around with, especially as it can influence job opportunities. My interactions today could end up tailoring the kind of job ads and company culture posts I see in the future.

2:30pm: YouTube

I watch a video about healthy meals and share it with my boyfriend via iMessage. YouTube is a Google product, and it’s settings are something I’ve looked at but do not fully understand. After sharing healthy meal plans I can definitely expect more health and food-related content, possibly even ads about new diet trends or kitchen appliances.

4:00pm: Planning Orlando Trip

By the afternoon, I’m in vacation mode and doing some web searches for Orlando. This is like striking gold for travel agencies, airlines, and pretty much anyone in the tourism business. They can use this information to serve me all sorts of offers. Privacy settings for travel sites vary, and I rarely pay attention. Interacting with flight offers and hotel reviews? I should brace myself for a lot of targeted travel ads for awhile.

8:00pm: Netflix

To wrap up the day, I settle down for some Netflix binge-watching. But even when I’m chilling, data’s being collected. The shows I pick and the ones I skip, all go into this huge data pot that Netflix stirs to whip up my next set of recommendations. It could even influence what kind of content Netflix decides to produce down the line.

After taking a closer look at my media habits, I’ve got to say, it’s eye-opening. It’s crazy how much we reveal without even thinking twice. Sure, we know Big Tech is always watching, but it’s another thing to see it all laid out. It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Recognizing the patterns, like how my love for cat videos might lead to more pet food ads, made me think about how I interact online.

Will I change how I do things? Maybe a little. But for now, I’m just more aware, and that’s a start.

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