I have been fortunate enough grow up in a financially comfortable home, allowing complete access to an exceptional education and resources to become successful. I worked as a receptionist for four years, working my way up to becoming the manager- the accessible computer at home presented me with ample practice to gain efficiency and proficiency in typing and eventually becoming comfortable with several different types of software programs. These resources created the opportunity to develop the skills that eventually led to a promotion. The advantage of owning a computer and access to the Internet aided tremendously in the college- application process. I was able to constantly revise my essays over a period of time, and use tools such as an online thesaurus to perfect them. My circle of friends defeats distance through our access to group chats and social media applications, keeping us connected. The opportunity I have been given to remain connected to not only people I know, but also current events and any new information as well shapes every aspect of my identity. Each factor that connectivity has influenced continues to influence others, all contributing to my future job, lifestyle, and relationships. The cycle never stops.
My identity markers, or ethos, online begin with being a Hispanic female. My music taste is reflected on my Pandora stations such as Shakira and “Beautiful Liar”. Because of this, advertisements cater to the assumption that I am fluent in Spanish because I listen to Spanish music (also correct). Through my tweets, I perform my class through certain complaints I express- first world problems to be exact. I follow CNN and tend to retweet other accounts that link articles to news stories of my interest, such as the Huffington Post commenting on feminism. My political stance was shown in one of my latest retweets- a comedian reassuring Republicans that they won’t catch Ebola because that requires actually helping people. My interests in fashion, fitness, food and furry friends are exemplified in the Instagram accounts I follow, such as “goodhealthgoodvibes”, “thebeautydept” and “corgisofinstagram”. On my Google searches, I frequently look up local coffee shops and search for Austin part-time jobs, all indicating where I live, my interest for coffee and a need for employment while still being a full time student. Lastly, all of my social media accounts include a picture of me as the profile picture, another way my identity is actively portrayed online.
On a regular basis, the websites I access are my email- yahoo.com, which help me stay connected to professors, special offers my favorite stores are giving, and employment opportunities around Austin. Next, I access Canvas daily to check my grades and assignments that are due or coming up. Then I check the social media applications such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. My privacy is compromised in almost all of these websites, especially because my information is obtained and used to try and sell me any sort of product that might appeal to me. For example, I receive bulk emails from companies I submitted my email to in order to become a member or use a service- Uber and UT athletics are two examples. Certain Twitter accounts search through the Twitter feed for specific key words to identify me as a particular consumer. For example, the Chargers football team twitter responded to a tweet of mine about IPhone chargers and offered me a free jersey… not exactly what I was referring to. There are also accounts that are suggested for me to follow based on the people I am currently following, again trying to label me as a particular type of user using the logos of what I post, however isn’t always accurate. On Instagram, the following page allows me to see what photos other people like and gives me access to the photos of people I otherwise would have never found. I am aware of how their privacy is compromised and to avoid the same happening to me, I made my profile private. My Twitter, however, is not private but I try to protect my privacy by not posting anything I wouldn’t want future employers to see. Lastly, my Facebook has the highest privacy settings, yet still incorporates my searches on other websites to generate advertisements that pertain to me. While it is an invasion of my privacy, I do not see it as a problem since most of the time I ignore the advertisement side bar.
In all, the Internet has a relatively accurate idea of who I am, what my interests are, and certain demographic aspects of mine because of how I represent myself online.