8:30am: Get woken up by my alarm. The alarm app tracks how often alarms are set, the times they are set for, how often the snooze button is used, and the consistency of wake-up times. This data provides insights into my daily routines and sleep patterns. I also use a Garmin watch which tracks how I sleep based on my heart rate and breathing patterns.

8:40am: Scroll on TikTok. When signing up for TikTok, everyone provides personal data such as my name, email address, phone number, and age. TikTok infers users’ interests based on the videos they watch, like, share, and comment on. For example, I often watch and like videos about musical theatre, so my FYP is filled with “TheatreTok” videos.

10am: Listen to music while I go for a walk. Spotify tracks the songs, albums, and playlists I listen to, as well as how frequently and at what times I listen to them. My searches for specific songs, artists, and genres, as well as the songs I play repeatedly or skip, are all recorded. This helps Spotify understand my music preferences more accurately. The playlists I create, follow, or save give Spotify insights into my music tastes.

11am: Edit on Premiere pro then upload videos to YouTube for my job. The content of the videos I upload provides YouTube with information including the video’s title, description, tags, and metadata. YouTube then tracks engagement metrics such as views, likes, dislikes, comments, shares, and watch time. These metrics help YouTube understand how my content is received and can influence recommendations.

1pm: Answer emails. An interesting one I received was through my professional website in which someone was asking how much I’d charge to make content for them. I then reached back out to their provided email address answering their questions. This means that much of my personal information was previously given on my personal website, and then I further provided him my individual email and how I charge for the services I provide.

3pm: Complete a quiz on Canvas for another class. Canvas quizzes track when a user is active, answering a question, or clicking away from the page. It also saves the informtion in real time, giving the user a notices at the bottom: “Quiz last saved: XX:XXpm”.

4pm: Scroll through instagram. I went on Instagram and saw an article about Aneglina Jolie and Brad Pitt, which made me curious about their relationship, so I googled some more information and went down a rabbit hole reading about “The timeline of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s relationship and divorce” on Today.com.

7pm: Listen to music in the gym again and use that time to also text friends back. I’m a big user of emojis and imessage tracks how frequent you use each emoji so that it can recommend you your “most used” when texting.

9pm: Wind down and continue watching New Girl on Disney+. Signing up for Disney+ involves providing personal information such as name, email address, payment details, etc. Disney+ also tracks detailed viewing behavior, including the episodes watched, the duration of each viewing session, whether content is paused or rewound, and the time of day content is consumed. For instance, watching New Girl regularly at 9pm provides insights into my evening routine and viewing habits.

Reflecting on my media usage, it is obvious that many different sites are tracking my routines and patters. Platforms like Spotify, YouTube, and Disney+ personalize experiences through data tracking what I click on. I’m increasingly aware of the data shared, both deliberately and passively, and the significant role algorithms play in shaping my consumption. Despite concerns, the personalized experiences and reassurances from reputable platforms’ security measures offer a level of comfort. Balancing convenience with privacy is important, so I am proactive about being aware of my “data” given.

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