Day 4 Reflections

By the end of the discussion yesterday, I was amazed at how many industries have been changed/destroyed by the Internet. To begin, the newspaper industry and news as a whole has completely been reshaped by the Internet. I began to think, and realized that I really only see my parents or grandparents reading the newspaper. Will there even be newspapers when I graduate college? Newspapers are just one industry that has been completely changed by the Internet. Taxis have been replaced by Uber; CDs and records have been replaced by online streaming services; DVDs have been replaced by Netflix; and so many more. The Internet, which was initially created to be a way for computers to  communicate, is now at the heart of our economy. I can manage all my stocks on the Internet; I can pay all my bills online; do all my shopping; and even manage my bank accounts all from the Internet on my computer.

One aspect of our economy on the Internet that I am curious about is the rise of Venmo. For years, the use of Credit Cards, Apple Pay, and other ways of electronically paying for things has minimized the use of cash. Now, with Venmo, I personally never even worry about carrying cash, because for me cash is useless. Venmo is a simple money-transferring social network where I link my phone to my bank account and can simply push a few buttons to send my friend or acquaintance any type of money. Now, people are using Venmo to pay their rent and pay their bills. Personally, I predict that with the rise of Venmo and other similar technology, cash will be seldom used by anyone.

What are your thoughts on the rise of Venmo and its affects on cash?

Growing up in the generation of the Internet, I take for granted how easily it is to shop. I literally could never leave my house, and buy everything I could ever need to live a happy and plentiful life from the web. All the entertainment I could ever need is also available right on the Internet.

Will our lives eventually become completely dependent on the Internet? What will the Internet and the economy look like in 10 years?

Another few questions I have:

Does the United States have seperate economic policies now that so much our economy is based on the Internet? In other words, how is United States and the worlds economic policy shaped by the Internet.

Has the Internet actually made our economy stronger, or just more convenient?

The topic I quickly want to brush on are targeted ads. Targeted ads are some of the creepiest things if you don’t know what they are. Basically, many websites access your browsing history, and advertise based on what you have been looking at. After shopping for basketball shoes online the other day, I noticed that my Facebook page was full of basketball shoe and clothes ads. To be completely honest, these ads made me more inclined to purchase a new Celtics jersey with my new shoes. The world of targeted ads will only get stronger as more of your data is on the Internet, and these companies will be able to follow all of an individuals tendencies to serve them the perfect ad.

Some overarching questions to ponder:

Are targeted ads an infringement on our privacy? Will they prevent us from branching out in our shopping, and make us one dimensional shoppers? What is the actual effect of targeted ads on our shopping?

I hope you enjoyed this version of Hollenberg’s Thoughts. More to come next week. Stay tuned.

1 Comment »

  1. profsmith

    September 27, 2016 @ 8:01 pm


    Great questions. Many of your questions don’t have a definitive answer, and several of them I don’t know whether an answer exists. Jim teaches a whole course on Privacy and Technology, which might help you answer some of what you ask. You might ask an economist when you take an econ class whether they believe the Internet has strengthened the US economy. I’d be interested in the answer. Of the rest, here’s what I can answer:

    I believe our lives are already very dependent upon the Internet. It’s not that you can’t do things without involving the Internet, but it seems like many companies and government agencies expect and encourage you to use the Internet. I’m sure you could name quite a few.

    I’m feeling quite old at the moment since I’ve never used Venmo. (At least I knew what Venmo was when it was mentioned on Monday!) From the little I know, I think it is solving a great issue — one bill and many people — that cash or multiple credit cards don’t easily solve. Beyond that use, you’d have to educate me! Do your parents use Venmo? Would they?

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