Today’s seminar got me thinking about several topics. We talked a lot about internet vs face-to-face communication. This made me think a lot about how people may seem one person on Facebook, but another completely different person personally. The things we say, the way we saw them, what we post and what we like on social media such as Facebook/Twitter, can cause many to “judge us” (even if unconsciously) and get completely different impressions of who we are. Think about it: what do you usually express on social media? Is it your like for a given subject such as math or physics, or is it photos, political views, videos you like? When I think about it, I would say many people share/add things to their Facebook accounts, that are maybe not the best reflection of who they are. In my opinion, getting to know someone personally is much more authentic. I believe that communicating through the Internet brings us a barrier in communication. Maybe the way a person writes a given sentence, or the punctuation she or he uses, may lead you to interpret what they said in one way, when they actually meant a completely different thing. When talking face-to-face, however, I believe these types of “misunderstandings” and therefore judgements are less likely.
We also discussed about how different social medias have their different expectations. It was funny to reflect about this in my daily life. I clearly notice that sometimes I am much more cautious with what I post on social media like Facebook or Instagram (in which likes are involved and I have many more friends), compared to what I post on Snapchat. We discussed in class the idea of how having “likes” (and nowadays, reaction buttons on Facebook), can change what one posts/shares on social media. I would argue this is completely true. Many people are worried about how many likes they will get in a picture, or if the picture will look “cool”, and this certainly influences what people post and what they choose not to post. In social media like Snapchat, however, in which no likes are involved, I feel people tend to not worry so much about what they post, as there is no “reaction from the audience”.
Another topic that interested me in the readings, was the conflict between France and Google. It’s amazing how many things I study at Harvard end up relating to each other: today for my French homework I had to make a video talking about the dangers of the Internet and its risks for young people. This is where today’s blog title comes from. The word inneffaçable in French is anything that cannot be erased or forgotten. France’s “right to be forgotten” allows a person to go to a service like Google and ask them to remove a piece of information about them which they believe is no longer valid/useful. This brought about a huge conflict with Google. France also wanted this to be a universal right: it wanted this to be applied all over the world. This would mean, then, that the unwanted piece of information would also have to be removed from the Google search engines in other countries, like the US. This got me questioning whether this action is valid or not. Would it be right for the information to be erased in all countries, even if countries do not agree to this regulation? Or should the right to be forgotten only apply to France?