READING RESPONSE #8

Plagiarism is a very serious accusation and once proven to be true, it takes on a life of its own. We see evidence of one example occurring in this week’s readings.  A “Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic Slavoj Zizek” (Phelps, 2014) did just that! The man is a renowned author and “cultural critic” (Phelps, 2014) who has gained the respect of many who review and are familiar with his work.  Some who are in similarly related fields as Zizek have followed his work and were in awe of his knowledge and accomplishments.  However, in July of 2014 Zizek “was accused of plagiarism for an article he originally published in 2006 in the journal Critical Inquiry.” (Phelps, 2014) He apparently read and used another author’s thoughts and written words from their book review as claimed them as his own.  He failed to give any acknowledgement as to his borrowing of someone else’s words.  In July 2014, this mistake came back to haunt Zizek.  To those who thought Zizek to be the almighty and powerful, this was a major devastation and betrayal of their faith and trust.  Zizek went on to admit that he did in fact use someone else’s work, but made an excuse that he was given permission – sort of.  He certainly didn’t seem remorseful, which makes the incident even more despicable.  Those followers and admirers of his great knowledge and his “superhuman genius” (Phelps, 2014) now were faced with the fact that they were lied to.  How could they trust anything Zizek had ever written or words he ever spoke as being his own work and “genius”?  How many other articles, books or papers were also using borrowed work or involved plagiarism?  A level of trust was forever lost, most likely never to be regained.  The part that makes this incident so unbearable to freely accept is that Zizek is fully aware of plagiarism and what factors constitute such actions.  He of all people knew what he was doing and only after he was caught did it become a problem.  In the article, it is mentioned that with all of the obligations Zizek had on his time, it was simply amazing that he could get such research and writings done. (Phelps, 2014)  I work for 15 faculty and can attest that this is one of their major issues in daily life – juggling teaching, administrative responsibilities, various committees, and continuation of their research field.  There is never enough time in the day.  So, as the old saying goes, when it seems too good to be true, it probably is!

In the article The disruptive power of collaboration: An interview with Clay Shirky (Shirky, 2014) it is brought to light that with the amount of open collaboration on the internet it seems impossible to give credit to any one person.  Shirky mentions that in this day and time, as we are all connected to each other virtually over the internet, we all collaborate together using ideas and thoughts, or pieces thereof, that others may have contributed to us.  The end product does not give just and due credit to the original person’s idea nor to the many others who contributed a piece of knowledge or expertise here and there along the way. (Shirky, 2014)  Shirky uses an example of the 3D printing problem that someone posted on an open forum website.  This collaborative website is such an invaluable asset to those great creative minds inventing a useful product for society.  Working together, a piece of the project that may have one person stumped may be right in another person’s expertise.  The second person can give instant answers to the first person’s problems.  But, at the end of the day, who gets credit for the finished product?  Who gets credit for each portion of the finished product along the way?  Online collaborative efforts have proven to be such a valuable asset to everyone.  However, awarding or even acknowledging credit to the appropriate person or group of people is lost in this environment.  Some seem to accept this outcome and are still willing to use this technology, while others hold it in contempt of what is right and just in another’s eyes.  In life, as with this issue, you must decide what works best for you and what you are willing to give up in order to gain your ultimate goal.

“The disruptive power of collaboration: An interview with Clay Shirky.” McKinsey & Company. March 2014. <http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/high_tech_telecoms_internet/The_disruptive_power_of_collaboration_An_interview_with_Clay_Shirky?cid=other-eml-alt-mip-mck-oth-1403>.

Phelps, Hollis. “Žižek, Plagiarism and the Lowering of Expectations.” Inside Higher Education. July 17 2014.Web. <https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2014/07/17/%C5%BEi%C5%BEek-plagiarism-and-lowering-expectations-essay>.

Literature Review

Literature Review

Modern computer technology has proven itself to be of immense value in everyone’s daily life, in one form or another.  Technology is constantly evolving as companies, along with their programmers, strive to be at the forefront of the newest, most innovative technological advances for their related industry.  However, there is another evil and dark side to even the most advanced technological product; the moment it crashes.  The Common Application, a frontrunner in its industry for decades, experienced crippling malfunctions and crashes that were heard around the world.  The very product that had for years simplified and expedited the college application process for high school students, counselors and college admission staff very efficiently now was experiencing technical difficulties and shutdowns that created extreme chaos, anger, and anxiety for all parties involved.  This technological “glitch” left most wondering:  Is the automated online college application process better than the old fashioned pen and paper or typewriter and whiteout methods?

The Common Application was created in 1975 as an effort to minimize the effort and maximize the quality of the college admission application process for everyone on both sides of the fence.  According to Ehrenberg & Liu (2009), the benefits of having one universal application form, accessed from and submitted to one central point would be a huge advancement in creating a simplified and efficient overall college admission process.  High school students could save valuable “senior year” time by completing one application that could be submitted to numerous colleges with a click of the mouse button. Counselors, both high school and college, could expedite their application processes and maximize their staff hours by using an automated computer technology product.  An instant, automated process not only makes life easier and more efficient for the applicant, but the large amount of instant data delivered to the college admission staff allowed for quicker statistical reporting and comparisons to aid their offices in creating the most promising entering class for the new academic year.

An article penned by Smith (2014; 2013) speaks to the depths of how instant access to statistical applicant information can directly affect future college enrollment.  With this valuable statistical information, colleges can instantly tweak their recruiting efforts to pinpoint certain gaps in desired demographics which are needed to round out and complete the next incoming class.  College admission counselors can more easily identify deficiencies in the applicant pool and quickly form a plan to correct them and reach their ultimate goals for that applicant cycle.

As the Common Application found success and continued to experience growth to its membership pool of colleges and universities, it became an accepted application format and well respected technological company in the world of education.  In the Hoover (2013) article titled “The uncommon rise of the common app; more than 500 colleges have made the same form a cornerstone of the admissions process.  Is that a good idea?” speaks to the levels of comfort and acceptance that colleges, high schools, and students had grown accustomed to, when dealing with the submission of the college admission application automated processes.  Member institutions were enjoying a  marketing side benefit of the Common Application site, by exposing potential students to member college names and identities that they may never have otherwise heard of or been exposed to.  When completing and submitting their college common applications, high school student’s browsed for the college names that they wished to submit an application.  Along the way, they were exposed to other member college names that may peak and interest and incline the potential applicant to question – what school is that? Where is this school located? What does that school have to offer me? This side benefit had the potential to get students interested enough to pursue more information on unfamiliar colleges and universities, which potentially could result in one more application to add to their incoming applicant pool.

Fleming (2012) points out that with the ease and comfort of the online application technology, the Common Application provided quick and easy access to bring onboard portions of the potential applicant pool that were either classified as “non tech savvy” high school students or those first generation applicants, which were defined as the first in their family to attend college.  For these two classes of students, the automated website helped to guide them through the automated process and expose and connect them to other websites that would aid them in vital college application process information.  Having connections to these valuable resources provided these potentially less knowledgeable students with information that could help them become the most competitive applicant they can be during the college application process.

The Common Application enjoyed decades of successful online application receipt and supporting materials processing, while making improvements and implementing successful upgrades to the system along the way.  In the Hoover (2013) article titled “Common app is experiencing technical difficulties” we discover with one flip of the switch or click of the mouse rather, one technology upgrade to their system could bring the world of automated application processing to a halt and ultimate crash and burn.  As the Common Application blossomed and enjoyed much success over the years, many colleges were confident enough in this company’s system to take it one step further and become electronic Common Application submission only schools.  Essentially, this meant that these schools stopped printing their own snail mail application materials, and required that all applications be submitted through the Common Application website exclusively.  This Plan A worked wonderfully until a system upgrade caused monumental glitches, technical issues, and system crashes.  Many schools had no Plan B in place to counter a sudden system glitch right in the height of the college applicant season.  This technology upgrade to the online application website sent students, high school counselors and college admissions offices around the world spiraling down into a tornado effect of chaos, anger, and anxiety laden existence.  Because of this automated glitch, many colleges and universities were forced to compensate by extended their early deadlines to accommodate the technical difficulties of their chosen online application provider.  A system created to help streamline a manual process, was now the evilness in the room, causing the most difficult and frustratingly angry college application season on record.

In an article by Herzog (2013), it is noted that the Common Application has successfully been “online” since 1998.  “Several versions have been unveiled since then, with few issues.”  Suddenly, when the whole system failed to provide the accustomed and expected product for this high school class of applicants, everyone “panicked”.  “Students are nervous, their families are nervous, their counselors are nervous, and the colleges waiting to receive their apps are nervous,” Anselment said.  “We’re trying to be a calming voice.”  Ken Anselment is a dean of admissions who expressed his school’s horrible experience to this malfunction of automation.  This catastrophe not only affected the core college application population, but it spread one step further to the families of the students, counselors and admissions staff.  These family members undoubtedly shared in the feelings of utter frustration and helplessness in their various positions of dependence on an automated computer system that was currently out of commission essentially.  Dean Anselment noted that his “school is working on a Plan B if the bugs aren’t worked out of the latest version of the Common App – bugs such as portions of the essays being deleted or jumbled, submitted applications or parts of applications not going through, even double charges for the same application.”  Many schools tried to fall back on or create a Plan B of allowing the students to mail in their completed applications in order to be able to process them for the early deadlines.

After this horrendous, failed application cycle filled with multiple critical technical difficulties, Hoover (2014) writes of those seeking an alternative solution, in the article titled “Elite Colleges Explore Alternative to Common App.” This group of colleges sought to organize and create its own application alternative to the Common Application product, in hopes that this type of total system meltdown can be avoided in the future.  As many schools are Common Application exclusive, this group is looking at ways to combat an all out system failure of their only application portal.  They were looking at using this for “the elite” private sector of schools, but are discussing bringing in some public schools too, so as not to look too “elitist”.

Currently, in a world that thrives and literally lives and dies by automated technology, we reach such levels of comfort with the computerized life that we completely feel lost when we experience a black out of sorts, that shuts down our daily functions.  The notorious Common Application debacle hopefully taught some very difficult lessons to those in the education field and to everyone affected by this experience.  Always have a Plan B, in case your computer technology suddenly ceases to function or exist.  Expect the best, but always prepare for the worst.

Ehrenberg, R. G., & Liu, A. Y. H. (2009). The common application: When competitors collaborate. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning41(1), 48-54.

Fleming, N. (2012).  Digital Divide Strikes College-Admissions Process. Education Week, 32(13), 14-15.

Herzog, K. (2013, October 17). Common Application problems send panicked students scurrying. Retrieved from http://www.jsonline.com/news/education/common-application-problems-send-panicked-students-scurrying-b99121649z1-228271631.html

Hoover, E. (2013). Common app is experiencing technical difficulties. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 60(8), 23.

Hoover, E. (2014). Elite Colleges Explore Alternative to Common App. Chronicle of Higher Education, 61(9).

Hoover, E. (2013). The uncommon rise of the common app; more than 500 colleges have made the same form a cornerstone of the admissions process. is that a good idea? The Chronicle of Higher Education, 60(12), A18-A22.

Smith, J. (2014; 2013). The effect of college applications on enrollment. The B.E.Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, 14(1), 151-188. doi:10.1515/bejeap-2013-0002

READING RESPONSE #7 – SET A

READING RESPONSE #7

In the Selinger article an extremely valid point was made concerning physicians and their use of technology in the patient examination room. It is pointed out that physicians using computers during their patient visits (evaluations) kind of makes you feel like there is a “third party” in the room with you and the doctor. (Selinger, 2014) I have direct knowledge and experience with this practice, as my doctor’s office has a computer in each exam room and it does take away from the direct attention and good bedside manner that many doctors used to possess. During my visit, the doctor spends most of the time looking at the results on the screen, your visit history, and finally typing in what his diagnosis is and ordering your prescriptions – all via the computer.  Little face to face conversation is experienced during my doctor’s visits anymore. Selinger references Nicholas Carr’s criticism of technology, saying that “Carr, like a good technology critic, helps us appreciate why so-called gains of “superior results” can come with a steep price of hard to see tradeoffs”. (Selinger, 2014) I totally agree with this statement as I have experienced it first-hand. Another article written by Kate Murphy makes us aware that although we are screaming for privacy, we blatantly share the most personal information and events in our daily lives on Facebook and other social media sites. (Murphy, 2014) Murphy shows us how truly obsessed we all are with ourselves and our perceived persona. She brings to our attention the sad truth of how most of us feel and react on a daily basis to the public sharing of such personal information with the world. In the article Murphy quotes Professor Sabine Trepte who is “a professor of media psychology” with the following statement: “They continued to participate because they were afraid of being left out of judged by others as unplugged and unengaged losers. So the cycle of disclosure followed by feelings of vulnerability and general dissatisfaction continued.” (Murphy, 2014) For most people I know personally, this is exactly how they feel. It truly is a part of social acceptance and a feeling that they will miss some big piece of good news, bad news, or delicious gossip that all of their friends will surely be talking about the next few days; all of which, they would be totally clueless of should they not participate in the daily social media explosion. I very much agree with a quote Murphy uses in her article from “Professor Anita L. Allen, author of “Unpopular Privacy: What Must We Hide?”, which also points out how obsessed we all are with ourselves. “I have to say, too, there’s a certain kind of vanity and self-absorption reflected in giving up everything about one’s self,” – “To think that somehow everything you do needs to be shared online is conceited and false.” (Murphy, 2014) I can’t tell you the utter amusement I get every day watching a select few of my Facebook friends posting selfie after selfie or constantly changing their profile picture each day in an effort to be seen and adored. It is absolutely “vanity and self-absorption” (Murphy, 2014) that drives these people to post the things they do. I understand why some people unfriend others, as after a while you get tired and annoyed by some of your friend’s posts. Most of us guard our privacy at home and in the general public, with curtains drawn and watching what we say and do in front of our co-workers and friends while in person. However, it seems we lose all control and care of our most intimate moments in life when we get behind that computer screen and monitor. It seems like an almost free for all of sharing our private lives with the world. We must acknowledge and watch out for those who are freely viewing and monitoring our online presence and those who would use that information for less than positive outcomes. In the podcast, “Keeping Tabs: Data & Surveillance in America” from Back Story with the American History Guys (Ayers, E., Onuf, P., & Balogh, B., 2013) our eyes are opened to just how long an invasion into our privacy has actually been going on in America. Our current credit reporting agencies date back to the 1800’s where people within your little communities were watching you and collecting information and sending that information to a New York agency who was using the information to create a credit profile of you centuries ago. (Ayers, E., Onuf, P., & Balogh, B., 2013) Apparently, these little spies within their communities, their actual neighbors, would watch and listen to the way you lived your lives, the money you had and the money you spent and secretly reported their observations back to a central company without your knowledge to allow others to know what type of person you were before they entered into any dealings with you. (Ayers, E., Onuf, P., & Balogh, B., 2013). A man name Lewis Tappan was adversely affected because he depended on money owed to him by one person, who actually counted on money to pay Lewis from money that was owed to them from another party. (Ayers, E., Onuf, P., & Balogh, B., 2013) The third party defaulted in their payment to the second party, and therefore, the second party defaulted on his payment to Lewis Tappan. Upset over his demise, Mr. Tappan came up with the idea to collect everyone’s financial information from community members’ observations and create a valuable listing that he could sell to potential business connections and social affiliations. (Ayers, E., Onuf, P., & Balogh, B., 2013) The amount of surveillance and information that goes on in any typical day would blow our minds. So much of it goes on without the slightest thought from each of us that we are being watched and violated. We must each watch the amount of information we voluntarily share on the internet and on social media sites, as there is already much more information about ourselves floating around and being used against us involuntarily.

Ayers, E., Onuf, P., & Balogh, B. (2013, July 19). Keeping tabs: Data surveillance in america. Retrieved November 7, 2014, from http://backstoryradio.org/shows/keeping-tabs/

Murphy, K. (2014, October 4). We want privacy, but can’t stop sharing. Retrieved November 7, 2014, from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/05/sunday-review/we-want-privacy-but-cant-stop-sharing.html

Selinger, E. (2014, September 19). Why it’s too easy to dismiss technology critics: or, the fallacies leading a reviewer to call Nicholas Carr paranoid. Retrieved November 7, 2014, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/privacynotice/2014/09/19/why-its-too-easy-to-dismiss-technology-critics-or-the-fallacies-leading-a-reviewer-to-call-nicholas-carr-paranoid/

Annotated Bibliography

Common Application:  Annotated Bibliography

 

Aasheim, C. L., Williams, S., Kemp, J., Williams, T., & Spence, L. (2009). Implementing imaging technology in graduate admissions at georgia southern university. Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies, 15(6), 41.

This article discusses the pros and cons of operating an admissions application processing system using both a manual paper process vs. an electronic process.  It speaks to the hardware and software needed to get the process functioning and the pros and cons of the process once it’s functional.  Work flow and quantity of work are discussed and argued as far as if the electronic process creates more work than it saves.

Anonymous. (2008). The college applicant pool has crested, but more minority students expected to enroll in college. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, (59), 31-32.

This article spoke to the differences and divides between racial lines.  That many more African Americans are applying to colleges due to the ease of the electronic format.  This article is promoting more ethnic equality and diversity in our colleges and universities.

Anonymous (2014).  Common application makes changes after tough year.  Education Week, 33(32), 4-5.

This article speaks to the huge problems and glitches that Common Application experienced and the changes needed to correct this problems.  Bottom line for the glitches… system was not properly tested before rolling out to the effected senior class.

Ash, K. (2013). Charters turn to more-unified application systems: Programs simplify enrollment process. Education Week, 33(5), 10.

This article speaks about charter schools trying to get onboard with the electronic application process for admission to select high schools.  I talks about using the “universal” technology that already exists for the benefit of the charter school system.  This article shows that the “common application” element is used in not only college admissions, but in high school admissions as well.

Ehrenberg, R. G., & Liu, A. Y. H. (2009). The common application: When competitors collaborate. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning41(1), 48-54.

This article speaks to the history of The Common Application – how and why it was created back in 1975.  It talks about the value of high school student’s time and an attempt to make the college application process easier and more fluid for the students, which in turn would create a better overall experience for seniors.  The ability to thoughtfully compose and create one common college application which can be submitted to multiple colleges in one shot would make life easier for the students.  Less time spent on applications meant more time spent on their studies and truly enjoying their senior year.  This article also speaks about the benefits to the colleges and universities who can use this method to quickly collect tons of applicant information and statistics easily, which aids in their admission techniques for building the best possible entering class for the new academic year.

Fleming, N. (2012).  Digital Divide Strikes College-Admissions Process. Education Week, 32(13), 14-15.

This article discusses the first generation and “non tech savvy” high school students and their coming onboard with the electronic application processes as well as other electronic resources to help them.  It speaks of trying to connect students who need it most with the appropriate electronic tools and helpful internet sites to aid them in being the most competitive applicant they can be during the college application process.

Hoover, E. (2013). Common app is experiencing technical difficulties. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 60(8), 23.

This article speaks to the major glitches and complete uproar of students, counselors, and admission personnel and working through these Common Application site catastrophes.  The system crashes, submitted documents that suddenly disappeared, and the chaos that surrounded the many glitches. Many schools had to actually change their application deadlines due to the huge mess.  A system created to help a process become simpler and easier actually created more chaos and havoc for students and schools around the world.

Hoover, E. (2014). Elite Colleges Explore Alternative to Common App. Chronicle of Higher Education, 61(9).

This article shows that after some major glitches in the Common Application process which caused major backlash across the board, a group of schools are looking at the potential of starting up an alternative process to the Common Application. As many schools are Common Application exclusive, this group is looking at ways to combat an all out system crash of their only application portal.  They were looking at using this for “the elite” private sector of schools, but are discussing bringing in some public schools too, so as not to look too “elitist”.

Hoover, E. (2013). The uncommon rise of the common app; more than 500 colleges have made the same form a cornerstone of the admissions process. is that a good idea? The Chronicle of Higher Education, 60(12), A18-A22.

This article discusses how the Common Application actually came into existence and grew to the mammoth it is today.  Many institutions are Common Application exclusive.  It shows how Common Application is actually used as a marketing tool also to attract students who are “browsing” schools and may not have ever heard of their school otherwise.

Smith, J. (2014; 2013). The effect of college applications on enrollment. The B.E.Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, 14(1), 151-188. doi:10.1515/bejeap-2013-0002

This article has a lot of statistical information in it showing what students are applying where and how many to this school or that school. This shows just how college admissions professionals use the application information to predict how large and what their incoming classes will look like.

READING RESPONSE #6 – Bogost & O’Hara

In this week’s readings, Bogost and O’Hara speak to the benefits and dangers of online privacy and security.  Society has strong opinions on both sides of the coin.  We each exercise our rights to maintain privacy (to some extent) every day.  Although we don’t have ultimate control over preserving our online privacy, as everyone is basically tracked and tallied by their online movements, we do have a choice of whether or not to click on a service and use it.  As we all know, if we choose to click on a service or application, we have to agreed to the apps terms of use, which usually give them the right to dip into your privacy zones.  In the O’Hara article, “Scott McNealy, then CEO of Sun Microsystems”, is quoted as saying “You have zero privacy anyway.  Get over it.” (O’Hara, 2013)  One part of the argument is that if we use the internet, we automatically concede to the fact that our movements and choices are seen, monitored and tallied for the purpose of making the various companies money.  In the Bogost article, it is noted that Google started out as being a service for “the good of the people” (Bogost, 2013) but, eventually changed its practices slowly to include advertisements and collecting its users information and using that information to benefit its company’s bottom line monetarily. Google’s original motto “Don’t be evil” (Bogost, 2013) spoke to providing a service for the good of the people, without harm, but over the years and through tremendous expansion Google had tapped into our privacy zones for the good of Google and the benefits to their company’s bank account.  The good of the company, Google, outweighed the good of the people and their right (or perceived right) to maintain a certain level of privacy in their lives.

Bogost, Ian. “What Is ‘Evil’ to Google?” The Atlantic. October 15 2013. <http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/10/what-is-evil-to-google/280573/>.

O’Hara, Kieron. “Are we Getting Privacy the Wrong Way Round?” IEEE Internet Computing 17.4 (2013): 89-92.http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=6547595.

READING RESPONSE #5 – Does Digital Scholarship Have a Future?

The article “Does Digital scholarship have a Future?” by Edward Ayers (2013) points to the massive changes that have occurred in technology in the last two decades. With the connectivity of the internet, which has exploded and literally put us all on the digital map, Ayers speaks of just how much this technology has become second nature to us all. “Everyone assumes everyone else is on e-mail, is adept with digital library resources, and is electronically connected to professional organization.” (Ayers, 2013) Technology continues to grow by leaps and bounds on a daily basis, yet digital scholarship seems to be dragging its feet. It seems that many scholars have little desire to jump into the technology world when it comes to their scholarship being produced digitally. According to Ayers (2013) the lack of interest or forward movement by scholars to take full advantage of the digital realm “is disappointing” to say the least. There is so much technology out there to make use of, and yet the people who should be promoting it the most, are not impressed with it. The “purpose of all scholarship” is to make strides in “advancing a disciplined and meaningful conversation.” (Ayers, 2013) The challenges of digital scholarship are that there are too few scholars willing to participate, promote, and expand this form of technology in their field. (Ayers, 2013) Most scholars seem to be stuck in the comfort of using the “print scholarship [methods, which] follows a deliberate path toward publication, with research, evaluation, and revision being completed before the scholarship appears before the public.” (Ayers, 2013)  Digital scholarship grows and becomes successful when everyone supports it and adds to it for the benefit of all.

Ayers, E. L. (2013). Does digital scholarship have a future? Educause Review, 48(4), 24.

BOOK REVIEW – BIG DATA

Book Review – Big Data by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger and Kenneth Cukier

Mayer-Schönberger, V., & Cukier, K. (2013). Big data: A revolution that will transform how we live, work, and think. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

 

Fascinating is the one word that begins to describe Big Data. I, like many other readers, had absolutely no idea that so much information was being collected on each and every one of us – in so many different areas of our lives. The book illustrates exactly how they collect the information and the analysis results of how they use it to determine many business practices. We, the public, have been unknowingly under an intense microscope of personal and social data collection that contribute to how businesses are run and to the products that are created.

The authors show us repeatedly how many areas of our lives have been touched by huge amounts of data collection and the analysis of strictly that data. They speak of not knowing why these certain phenomena happen, but that they only need the data to know what is happening and project their business plans from there for the best outcomes in their particular niches. One such example is of the costs and timing of purchasing an airline ticket. The example flushed out that different prices were being charged for the exact same seat on the exact same flight. Having the data analyzed the computer systems could tell you the best time to buy for the cheapest rates. Another example was of predicting the spread of flu. Google completed analysis and could roughly determine where the outbreaks were and follow them, based on the google searches for health symptoms and medicines. Google could provide this valuable information in almost real time, compared to the exact reporting completed by the CDC and reported a week or two later. For the spread of a disease, time equals money and possibly life or death. Such huge data collections can truly help make our world better – quicker in many ways when referring the health industry.

Amazon is another example of connecting people with products that we didn’t even know existed or that we couldn’t live without! Data collection and analysis of what and how people purchased goods helped companies provide you with suggestions of what you might like to buy. What is amazing is that these products sometimes are nothing alike and just random, but analysis shows that people who bought the one product many times over bought the second product also. The customer purchasing analysis even helped Amazon in the product warehouse systems. Based on what people who purchased product A and product B, they learned to place certain random items together in the same area, which helped the order pickers to go to one quick spot to fill an order for delivery packaging. It really boggles the mind what all of this data collection has resulted into.  We don’t understand why, but just know that it works and is very productive.

Our cellphones and laptops collect an abundance of information about our personal lives, the places we go, the things we do and the products we use.  The author writes about the collection of data that shows where people congregate and frequent on the weekends or during special events.  This analysis can help predict where law enforcement should bump up their manpower for any potential events beforehand not after something happens.  This information can also track hot spots in our towns and major cities that people like to go and hang out.  Information like this is priceless to business who are scouting out new areas to develop and invest in to place their businesses.

Facebook and Twitter, as well as other social media outlets, have our entire lives information and interactions right in the palm of their hands. The data we mindlessly share every day is being scooped up and used to analyze us all. One overwhelming quote in the book will really make you sit back and say WOW! “Facebook has around one billion users in 2012, who were interconnected though over 100 billion friendships. The resulting social graph represents more than 10 percent of the total world population, datafied and available to a single company.” (p. 92).

To think that “10 percent of the total world population” has shared substantial information and data – without even blinking an eye to one company, Facebook, is just amazing. This makes you kind of understand why everyone has been in such an uproar about the new Facebook messenger app that Facebook is now requiring users to convert to – if you want to use mobile message service. One of the permissions, should you accept the terms and use the app, is that they can monitor or record your conversations. I didn’t think twice about it, when people were screaming. I figured they might ask your permission, but they wouldn’t actually do that – would they? After reading this book, I fully understand how and why they ask for these permissions, in a slide under the door kind of way, so that they can benefit from collecting and using your personal data. Imagine what they could learn from listening in on billions of people’s conversations.

Big Data is an amazing book that looks at so many different areas of businesses, government, health care, shipping and so many more avenues that touch each and every one of our lives on a daily basis – all collecting and analyzing our data, thoughts, personalities, and social structures.

The information shared in Big Data is valuable to each person who reads this book as it gives you insight on what is being collected and how it’s being used. It gives you knowledge that then gives you the opportunity to continue using certain electronic devices in the same manner or change the way you use them and the amount of information you share.