Are privacy settings really private?

Before writing this post I decided to google my name. We’ve all done it at some stage just to see what appears. Fortunately my name is rather common; due to the location settings on my phone, the more ‘popular’ Hannahs in the London region were the first results however, that doesn’t mean to say my information isn’t out there for everyone to see. My Facebook profile has very little privacy, it didn’t take me long to find myself and read through every piece of information I’d written. That then made me think about who else could access this. At some point or another everyone has looked up and ex or work colleague or friend just to see what they’re about (likes/dislikes, hobbies, pictures) but we never take a second thought as to who is doing this to us. I have pretty much my whole life online on some platform or another but sticking to Facebook there is little I can do to stop access to my information. Under the privacy settings we can adjust posts so only friends or friends of friends can see your profile but this doesn’t stop the likes of Facebook itself to rifle through my personal details. I understand that when you sign up you agree to these T&C but it makes you think, are your privacy settings really stopping people who you don’t know viewing your online presence?

Photos especially are a grey area in social media. You’d think that once you have taken a photo, you’d be the rightful owner of this but once it is on an online platform, they immediately gain some rights to the image. Is this abuse of our personal rights as a human being? I think in some ways it is over hyped. I can see why some disapprove of this, when you sign up to a site you expect a certain level of privacy, you join the online community to socialise with friends and feel safe so the idea that people can access your personal life is daunting. However, in some cases I do feel if you’re that concern, you should just avoid posting personal information. Once you agree to the company policies you are giving up, to some extent, your privacy rights.

i feel the main concerns for me comes from who can take my information. It’s unbelievably easy to forge an account and essentially create a new persona online. I belise something shound be introduced in the future to verify Facebook accounts and stop fraud.


Disney’s Club Penguin

Club Penguin is one of Disney’s many online gaming sites. The visual reality game is aged at children ages 6-14 and has over 30 million users (one of which is my little brother).

This online community of predominantly kids is a positive example of how child friendly gaming can be achieved. With the age graphic as low as it is, child safety is the main precaution. The key approaches to this include ‘safe chat modes’ which limit users to certain phrases, prevents users from inappropriate usernames and blocks profanity or any personal details. Its estimated that the company employ over 70 staff to police the game.

Children benefit from this like adults do when entering virtual reality gaming. They can take part in challenges, win awards, connect with friends and make friends alike. All in a safe environment which, is the biggest selling point from a parents prospective.

Whilst memberships are free their is also a paid option which allows players to access all the content provided. Obviously Disney wants this option to appeal to people so plug it regularly throughout the game. The reason I mentioned my brother previously was because he saw these added extras and like any child, kicked and screamed till my mum agreed to pay the membership fee. This fee is probably one of the only downsides of the site. Obviously the question of age regulation arises regularly, this can be forged and any age group can play the game, however, like I’ve mentioned previously, this site is one of the safest online currently and new privacy settings are released and improved regularly.


Audience Participation- Ice bucket challenge

When I think of audience participation, the first media related source that comes to mind would be YouTube. The site is basically run by its audience, anyone with a camera or other recording device can easily make a video and post their content online almost immediately. So when the ALS Ice-bucket challenge came about, the idea went viral quickly, mostly because of this platform of social media. The cause awareness was so successful because of the participation of the public and also celebrities who would show their support too. The idea of pouring a bucket of ice cold water over your head or your friend’s became a challenge, this increasing the participation as people would be dared to do it and then post their videos too essential challenging someone else. The game didn’t just exist on YouTube however, videos were trending throughout all social networking sites (Facebook, instagram, twitter) without the initial and continual audience participation of this cause, awareness would not have spread nearly as globally. Funds raised from this awareness reached an excess of $100 million predominately donated by Ice-bucket challenge participants.

Unfortunately a large per portion of participants made their videos not for the cause but for the chance to post a humorous video of themselves which obviously, was not the original intentions of the videos. Since the challenge was introduced, other organisations have taken on this idea to spread awareness in a fun was such as the more recent ‘lipstick smear challenge’ which has mainly taken off on Instagram and promotes the cervical cancer campaign.



Media convergence in this instance is the interlinking of computing and other technologies which, brought me to think of FaceTime. The application, which can be accessed by Apple users, brings together communication and computing over numerous platforms. The app allows you to video call other users and communicate with them through a webcam or another Apple device’s camera, for instance, the iPhone.

One of the most significant themes of media convergence is the ability to send more information further and faster. This feature is a big step in telecommunications. Not only can people across the world use this to talk to one another, it’s becoming more and more advanced every time Apple upgrade their devices as new technology is developed. For instance, a new iPhone is released every year, with this comes new features such as a upgraded camera. This allowing FaceTime users to view whoever they may be calling in HD or in the future even better. Whilst you’re at home or out and about you can constantly be connected with friends or family. The fact you can visually see the person on the other end of the line creates a connection unlike a regular phone call. This being because you can view there reactions or see there expression. The tag line Apple use which sums this up well is, ‘Now your smile goes further’.

The downside as with most applications like this (such as Skype) is the fact it is breaking down what it means to actually be social. Apple’s selling point is that, ‘you can catch up, hang out, joke around and stay in touch with just a click.’ but is this really how people should stay connected? I personally feel it bridges the gap between the time you spend with friends until you next see them. Fingers crossed this won’t become our only way of communication..

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Useful web pages.

When I wrote my first essay for media and society, I struggled to find articles to support my arguments. I know some of you will have heard of Google scholar previously but this search engine was introduced to me by a friend from another university and it helped me so much to find other material to back up my essay.

Google scholar is an online search engine which allows users to source physical and online articles and books. It searches a large selection of sources from universities, academic studies, professional societies, online repositories, etc. Like google, what you search is ranked so the most relevant result will be listed first. Whats also interesting is that you can view how many times the article has been cited, this can help validated how trusted the author may or may not be. Below is an advanced search box which, allows you to go into detail as to what sort of text you are looking for. As a student, you have access to countless databases that cover a wide variety of disciplines and areas of research all for free! and you do not even need to leave your dorm room.Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 18.45.01

I have attached a link to Google scholar and also a few articles I have found using the search engine, relating to future lecture topics.,5



What is interesting about the internet?

What I find most interesting about the internet is the fact we’re only ever a few clicks away from numerous platforms of communication. The internet has advanced dramatically in the past decade and we can now access pretty much whoever we wish without having to leave the comfort of our own homes. Communication through the internet is becoming on par with human interaction at a drastic rate and I feel in the coming years this will become our main platform of conversation. I’m hoping that we will navigate our way through innovation without loosing a hold of one another but the reality is, in my opinion, we are loosing the emotional connection of a face to face conversation because of what the internet offers us. Facebook is defined as a ‘social network’ but is it really social when your life is displaced on a computer screen? At this present time I think application such as Skype and FaceTime help fill the time between human interaction. For example, long distance relationships can benefit greatly from this as the two individuals can interact face to face without being with one another, this allowing them to keep up to date with each others lives. However, this could never become a substitute for the real thing. The globalisation of the internet keeps us interconnect between one another and this is why I believe it is so beneficial to society.