Tagged & Tracked

It is crazy to think about how much information there is out in the world about us; crazier yet is how information can be used to track us in real time. Every day we are under constant surveillance from CCTV, the cookies in our web browser and our handy-dandy smartphone in our back pocket…

Geotagging is exactly what it sounds like: tagging your geography or the process of attaching GPS metadata to content such as a photo or a post. There are obvious pros and concerns when it comes to geotagging. For instance, NBC’s Katy Smyser and Stefan Holt (2012) reported that after the events of Hurricane Sandy, geotags were used to help first responders find trapped people or, personally, when I post a photo on Instagram or start streaming a Periscope and I can geotag my location to it now and can be seen by a larger audience (its like having another hashtag!)

Screenshot_20160802-174041

A Geotagged picture that was later regrammed by The Deck

It also helps me look at my considerations for what restaurant I will go to for dinner tonight. However, as one of the issues with our growing participatory culture, this does mean that when we do take a photo of that amazing burger or colourful brunch that we are are giving away free labour AKA free advertising from consumer created content.

What happens though when my geotags get analysed? I get tracked or as I like to call it virtually stalked. Every Wednesday, my smart watch will come up with a Google notification that it will take “X” amount of minutes to get to uni… Umm I didn’t request to see how long it will take to get to uni today Google, you creep. In fact, for as long as I have my phone with me and my location settings on, Google amongst other apps on my phone are tracking when I go to gather even more detail information about my movements and behaviour to create an in-depth profile about me.

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My Google timeline from Wednesday last week. I can see when and where I went and how long I was there for… it even predicts my mode of transport

Moreover, what would happen if this information got into the wrong hands? Anyone with this information would be able to find me at anytime or could even predict where I most likely am to be, and have an understanding of my behaviours The lesson from this is that we are constantly under surveillance but that is the price we pay for “free” services such as Google Maps and Facebook. Therefore it is important that we are more aware than ever of our actions and consider who may actually be watching us.

 

References:

Smyser, K & Holt, S, 2012 Geotagging Allows for Real-Time Surveillance, NBC, retrieved 1 August 2016, <http://www.nbcchicago.com/investigations/unit-5-social-media-location-services-180083881.html>

 

  1. Firstly, love the use of the map – so creative to show google tracking you from location to location. Also your example of Geo tagging during hurricane Sandy – really awesome! I had no idea how creative people got with technology – no did I consider it to be a ‘life saving’ feature used to find people. This was such an interesting read however, potentially to text heavy, perhaps consider inserting more media images? Or placing your Instagram photo in the middle therefore breaking up the text? – Yet, great piece and I’m thrilled I’m not alone when using Instagram to find new restaurants / cafes and when ordering based on photos!

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  2. Hi Dylan,

    I will admit – I chose to read your post because you’re Twitter activity is really interesting and knew it would be even better in blog form – keep up the good work!

    I like your creativity in relation to making media, although at times its expressed in a comedic manner, you always ensure your witty writing critically discusses your argument and back it up with scholarly references. Perhaps just consider the layout of your blog, I felt it look tight and congested.

    Awesome blog post!

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  3. Great post Dylan!
    I enjoyed reading this, such a great topic and you brought up some valid points that inform people on the process of geotagging. You have a very casual but creative writing style which made the post entertaining and easy to read. The maps that you included were great; it complements the post quite well. Maybe you could add some active hyperlinks or other sources so that readers could look into the issue more if they wish too. Otherwise excellent post!

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  4. Hey Dylan, Love the post. But you used the same image twice. Perhaps make one of them into a video representation of the trip? I’m sure with you skills behind the camera you could put together something amusing and relevant to the post.

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  5. Great job Dylan! I loved your use of language and the humorous tone employed throughout the post. The personal anecdote made the notion of geo-tagging very relatable and less dystopian in outlook than most commentary on the issue. The layout of the post flowed nicely and wasn’t too content heavy. I guess the most disconcerting part about the technology is that it is often automatically enabled– which could pose a potential threat to the less informed user. Great work!

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  6. The first thing that stuck out to me in your post was how well you embedded your media content, from your other social media profiles on the right hand of the page, to your ‘Google timeline’. These were both things I had previously not seen in people’s posts. Your title was short and attention-grabbing, your definition of geo-tagging was insightful, and how you related its use to things that you do on social media on a regular basis. Your paragraphs were split up nicely, which led to an easy-to-read format, but it would have been nice to maybe see some more scholarly references in your piece.

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  7. Hi Dylan,

    This is such a great topic, because we are all surrounding by these geotagging in our daily life. This article really got me to think deeper of geotagging, because lots of time I’m allowing all the social networks get my location and share them through Snapchat and Instagram. I really like your writing style, because it is well structure and easy to understand, as well as, you are using different angles examples, which are news example and your experiences to support your points. Most importantly, you are not dystopian, as you have balance points for the topic that won’t mislead your reader to specific position.

    For the link on reference list, it isn’t working and ensure that all the links are open in a new tab, it would be more convenience to readers. Moreover, it is important to avoid colloquialism, such as “umm” and “you creep”, that would makes the tone less formal. Otherwise, the article is great and informative. Keep up on nice work!

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  8. Hi Dylan,
    This is a nice topic and you did a great job, I ‘m also working on the same issue, which you bring me some great ideas. From your context, you bring the ideas that GPS data is surveillance us but in a good way. The apps we are using in every day, l think all of them have GPS location to find out where we are. You not only using text to made me understand how GPS ‘watching’ us but also your ‘been watched’ photo to showing how surveillance been working on yourself, I think this is a great way to made me understand free services just need different type of payment. Love your humorous tone, it really make me enjoyed your blog. However, I suggest you can embed twitter or some creative commons to improve your blog post. Well done, your blog will definitely in my ‘watching’ list.

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  9. This blog needs more information to helps people to understand the topic use more reference on this topic it is helps your blog to be creative. In addition, use images from twitter it is good to be more active in twitter because twitter has many information and people’s opinion also try to use another kind of image it is better to find images that helps your blog to be more interesting. Overall, the blog is good also the map image is creative work also the design for the blog good and it is creative work.

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  10. Really good and informative blog post. It gets you thinking about how much information people actually give out, by for example just posting their photos.
    I also think you should do a read through before you hand it in. Some of your sentences are very long. Try switching some of the commas with periods. It gives the text a better flow. Plus it´s easier to read.
    The link in your reference list does not open in a new window, which is a bit annoying. The readers are forced to leave your blog. Also, the link is broken or the content removed (“Sorry, the page you are looking for does not exist.”)

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  11. Hi Dylan!
    i really enjoyed reading your blog post, such a great topic and you brought up some really interesting points. It really gets you thinking about how much information individuals actually give out especially posting photos and videos!
    i found that your headline was attention grabbing and it got brought to my attention very fast! you related geo-tagging to social media frequently! you have a really creative writing style which made the post really easy to read and very engaging. I really loved that way you included a map i thought that was such a creative way it makes your blog post that much stronger! The only thing that i would comment on is next time use more scholarly references in your blog post. However i really enjoyed reading your post and i’m looking forward to your next post!!

    isabella

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  12. Hi Dylan!

    I really liked the title of this blog post as it was concise, clever and therefore quickly gathered my attention. From the opening paragraph I can tell that you have a great writing style.

    I never knew geotags were used to help those affected by natural disasters, so it was very interesting to learn about it. Thank-you!

    Your explanation of geotagging is easy to understand and the use of further research makes the information very professional. By including your own personal experiences with geotagging, along with the screenshot of the Instagram image, it increased my engagement as a reader.

    Although the blog post was short, it was well written and formatted nicely. I would have liked for you to include an additional scholarly source to further strengthen the information in this blog post.

    Overall, it was an enjoyable read and I commend you on your clever writing style.

    Cheers.

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  13. Dylan, this is a great post. I like the layout and the very personal pictures that you have used, from a cheeky self-promotion on Instagram to your movements from a day as reported by google. I think that the overall blog could be improved by a couple more sources, just to flesh it out and give more credibility to your thoughts. I think that your contention at the end is a strong one and that with a little more to interact with such as a poll or a digital short that this post could be improved.

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  14. […] I touched base with geolocations and Google’s tracking timeline in an earlier blog post, this weekend still managed to open my eyes up to how specific the data being collected, […]

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