As per the assignment, I downloaded my Facebook advertising information and I took a look at the Google compilation as well. While both contain some useful information about my web presence and interests, neither were speciic enough or detailed to the point I presumed they would be. Much of the Facebook information was simply a list of the interests I entered in when I first created my account. This results in some very outdated music and movie tastes according to my profile, stuff I was listening to in middle school. Advertising featuring these artists isn’t very likely to sway me anymore. Another sub par portion of the Facebook information was the family section; it only listed family members that have rewquested to add me as family members. It didn’t include my mother, father, or brother, only my middle-school aged cousin (who is only my friend on facebook because she wouldn’t stop complaining about her unheeded friend request). Onto parts of the profile that were actually useful: the contact info was correct, listing all of my email addresses I use on the internet, along with several phone numbers which have all been used by me. The messages log shows all messages nboth sent and received by me, which showed me how I essentially talk to one friend back home entirely on facebook, due to our propensity to share music or links. By far the most interesting part of the Facebook profile was the breakdown in how I am accessing facebook, showing my sessions from either my mobile device or my laptop. I can see when I went home for thanksgiving, when I checked facebook on the way home (due to the location of Hudson, WI), and even when I check facebook on my girlfriend’s laptop.
The Google profile was much of the same: listing over 160 interests for me based on my searches. These run the gamut from Action films to building toys (Legos?) to Childrens literature to independent music to martial arts to online video. There is way too much here, and in much too general of terms, to be of any use to an advertiser. I suspect that both Google and Facebook have much more detailed information that they withhold due to how personal and direct it is.
Overall, this assignment had little impact on how I perceive the digital trail I leave behind. While I certainly view the NSA bulk spying as unconstitutional and as an infringement upon my rights, I don’t fear for anything. I, unlike some in less democratized countries, don’t have to be wary of anti-government or radical views I tout online. I can do that, knowing I wont suffer extraordinary rendition to a underground torture facility in Azerbaijan. Until people start disappearing and the repression reaches higher levels, I have little concern for my online impact.