The price of “free”

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After reading “The Filter Bubble” by Eli Pariser, I find it ironic to write this blog post. After analyzing the sources of power of two of the most prominent internet companies in the world (Facebook and Google); shouldn’t we stay away from the internet?

Probably not. (Hard to do so, anyway.)

It is not the first time that people are being seen more as consumers than human beings. (All Mad Men freaks, you know what I’m talking about.) We’re in the middle of a war. Companies fighting one against each other just to get you.

Think for a minute about your everyday life. You wake up in the morning and probably one of the first things you do is turn on some device. Television, phone or radio? They are constantly bombarding you with ads. Newspapers? Same thing. Your commute to work wouldn’t be the same without the subway advertisements or the huge billboards along the road. However, we don’t seem to care anymore. We are targets of the industry, and as a result we are the most – consumer oriented society that ever existed. We don’t fully understand the problem, because we believe that our choices are still our own.

Some full grown up adults are conscious about this problem, but what about the easily impressionable minds of young kids?

I remember my little cousin Lenny. When the television is on, some kids enter an impressive state of passiveness; but not Lenny. She didn’t care about the “telenovela” (soap opera) or the cartoons. But once the commercial ads appeared, Lenny would stop anything she was doing and just stared at the TV.   Back then, we all thought it was funny. Nowadays, it actually concerns me. [The fact that she has grew up in to a rebel, I-want-everything kind of girl might be a coincidence, but well, that’s the way it is.]

What about Facebook these days? Sometimes, it seems almost as we can’t live without it. And even though I’m a regular user, I’m starting to get uncomfortable with the ads they show me. From photography schools to Colombian traditional food, it scares me how much they know about me. But it’s my fault, isn’t it? I feed the machine that wants to eat me.

During an against-my-will trip I had to make a couple of months ago, I was without internet access for a little more than a week. Boy, it felt refreshing! I focused more in my family and friends, something I didn’t do in a long time. From that trip, I have decided to unplug more of the 2.0 world and connect more to my personal relationships. However, when the six people around you stop to check their phones every five minutes, I can’t help but wonder if I look THAT stupid.


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