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Shirky I Suppose.

Categories: Syndicated posts, Uncategorized

In reading Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody, there were many things that he points out that should seem obvious but that I never really take the time to think about.

In reading Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody, there were many things that he points out that should seem obvious but that I never really take the time to think about.

About a month ago, I sold a friends laptop on eBay. Since it is a “digital transaction” it requires communicating only through email and such, you actually aren’t able to obtain a phone number without filling out a form etc.

I sent the man the laptop after receiving the funds in my Paypal account. About 6 days later, he opened an “Item Not Recieved Claim” through eBay which notifies Paypal and puts my money on hold. I emailed him the tracking number and by that time he responded he told me that there was nothing to worry about since he had received the laptop later that afternoon and that it was “Better then expected!”.

Upon that I waited for him to close the claim (since my funds were now being held hostage by Paypal). This guy knew the system and didn’t close the claim because I hadn’t sent it with Signature Confirmation. In the small print that we all just click “I Agree” to when signing up for any website, it says that a signature confirmation is required for any item over the cost of $500. Basically I got scammed out of the $500 and he got the laptop and Paypal couldn’t do anything about it.

While reading the opening sequence in which Shirky talks about the girl who had her Sidekick taken from a cab, I felt as though I was the same type of victim to someone knowingly scamming me and being fine with it. When her friend started posting all of the information about her address, number, and everything that he could get his hands on it reminded me of my troubled transaction with “Quddos2009” on eBay.

I exhausted all of my options with trying to get him to be honest, having Paypal give me the money back, and it wasn’t worth hiring a lawyer to take the guy to court. I instead realized that I had enough information about him to do some serious revenge if I wanted (I didn’t but wanted to Spam his Inbox or something annoying). My friend joked that we should just go online and sign him up for every coupon website and click every “yes, please send me updates, newsletters, and promotional material” that we could.

The fact that people rely so heavily on e-mail inboxes and their online sources of communication opens them up for digital terror. There are websites in which you can put someone’s email address in and it will send them about 1,000 emails a day making it impossible to sort through and find the meaningful ones. Once again, I did not do it but would be lying if I said I didn’t check to see how easy it was.

The point that I am trying to make in this look at our digital lives is 1. What are we actually saying yes to when we click I agree without reading the terms (does that give away our ability to operate on morals as opposed to what is right and wrong?). 2. Use signature confirmation. 3. How much do we actually know about how much information about ourselves is accessible and how safe it is to throw ourselves into this virtual world that we call the internet?

Thanks☺