What makes Tweetdeck an appealing application is its immense customizable features that enhances the Twitter experience. When using Twitter on the web or mobile device, you only have a singular column that shows you tweets and retweets made by people you follow. Whereas with Tweetdeck, the app gives you the option to optimize the interface by adding more columns with your specific area of interests. Let’s say you live in Canada but want to be up to date with current events in another location, you can search “Hong Kong” and add a column to the interface with tweets about Hong Kong. Tweetdeck also allows you to filter down tweets by language, number of retweets, and more to further narrow down your searches.

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Sometimes I find more up-to-date information on Twitter than I do with search engines like Google. For example, I have been keeping up with the recent political protests in Hong Kong when it first occurred. Searching Hong Kong on Twitter resulted in many tweets regarding the issue. As oppose to searching on Google, only a few links (to news networks) were shown about the matter, and the rest was general information about Hong Kong. When the peaceful protest turned violent, a lot of Hong Kong twitter users live tweeted what was going on. It wasn’t until then did the first page of Google search results featured more predominantly relevant links to the issue at hand. In this scenario, I got a better understanding of the situation earlier on by searching on Twitter than I did with Google. Major news outlets for the most part summarized what happened and why. Whereas, I got a better feel for the real-emotions sent by live-tweeters as it happened.

I use both Twitter and Google to search for news and updates regarding my areas of interest. However, I do prefer Twitter whenever I am seeking real-time or very new information that has yet made its way to Google’s first search results page.

Going into this experiment, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. After what was discussed in last Wednesday’s class, there seems to be a lot of shady, ‘behind-the-scenes’ web activity happening users are not aware of.

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After browsing the web for 20 minutes with the add-on Lightbeam running, I was surprised to see I have connected to 62 third party websites even though I only visited 13 websites.

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I didn’t expect surfing popular social media networks like Facebook, Tumblr and YouTube would have connected me to so many external websites, some of which I have never heard of. I assume some of these are ad networks or data brokers, collecting and tracking my info on the web. This just shows the different degrees of interoperability and how some websites prioritizes consumer privacy and security more so others.

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I was pleased to see there were some websites I visited did not connect to third-party websites. Like the bank ATM example in Chapter 4 of Interop, bmo.com (Bank of Montreal website) did not connect me to any third party websites. With something so serious and personal, it was a relief to see that their web services are highly interoperable and highly secure.

On one hand, I feel like my privacy was infiltrated and my information was shared without my consent. But on the other hand, I know that I am on the web and everything is elusively connected. Growing up in the digital era where web 2.0 emerged, there’s always a common understanding in the back of my head that once you connect to the internet, things you do are monitored by higher power and privacy does not really exist. Like discussed in class, we essentially sign our privacy away in the terms and conditions when we join a social media network.

62 third party websites were connected in 20 minutes. I’m curious how many more if I left the addon running for a whole day, a week and a month?