Sunday, January 24, 2016

Digital Media is Making us Trust Strangers Now?

Digital media has revolutionized today’s society. It has enabled us to do many things, perhaps the most significant among them is the ability to communicate anonymously with unknown individuals. Digital media has changed our meaning of trust and has made us more gullible and vulnerable than ever before. 
Look at the several social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, etc. where anyone can gain access to a parts of your life by sending you a friend request or following your profile. Gaining information that could potentially allow them access to your email or your bank account. Going beyond the social networking, people are placing not only their trust, but lives in the hands of complete strangers. They’re using transportation apps like Uber and Zipcar or even sites like Craigslist even though they have no clue who the person they’re meeting is.

In an article from the Washington Post, Emily Badger notes the finding of a national survey conducted in the United States, “The General Social Survey conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago has been asking a random national sample of adults since 1972 this same question: "Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted or that you can't be too careful in dealing with people?"

But why are people so trusting if the growing majority say that they’re more cautious of who they trust? The answer to part of that question would be customer reviews. Which allows thousands of people to rate the service they received. But what about the other half of that question, where thousands of social media users have the tendency to reveal private information, that can seriously put their safety at risk?

1 comment:

  1. The common saying of “Give someone a mask and they’ll show their true face” is something that can be easily applied to the internet. While we often use technology to communicate with people we know in real life, there are many times people will interact with others they know nothing about other than a username. Many people are aware of the fact that anonymity means you have to take some things you see online with a grain of salt, but sometimes we are all persuaded by people we don't know. If an amazon user writes a well thought out review on an item I’m interested in buying, it may actually have an affect on my decision to purchase that item. The odd thing is that I have no idea who this person is or if their accounts of the product are accurate at all. The only thing that matters is that the 5 star review gives me confidence that I wouldn't have gained from just a description from the company trying to sell me something. A reviewer is seen as an unbiased 3rd party who can help make well informed purchase decisions.
    Let's say I do buy something online based on a review and it turns out to be a piece of junk. I would probably feel lied to, cheated, and confused. Why would someone give this such a good review? Certainly they wouldn’t just go on the internet and tell lies! Interactions like this can be common and are more memorable than positive experiences. This means that from now on I would be more skeptical and less trusting of reviews and people online.
    Possibly the most dangerous part of social media is burglaries that that can occur based on posts. It’s common knowledge that after christmas you shouldn’t put the empty boxes from gifts at the end of your driveway with the garbage, but people do the online equivalent all the time. Posts about new tvs, jewelry, or other expensive items can make people easy targets because there is a guarantee of what you have that can be stolen. Posts about vacations or being away from home are harmless to friends and family
    Our lives are more open now than they’ve ever been before and for the most part this is because of our own voluntary actions. The amount we trust others should be based on the experiences we have with them and anonymous interaction isn’t the place to go if you need trustworthiness.