“What Happens When You Click on This Link”
"What Happens When You Click on This Link"
Prepare for a captivating odyssey through the labyrinthine landscapes of the internet, where every click unleashes a cascade of events. In this podcast, Jack Corfield welcomes you to the digital realm, where a simple click sets in motion a series of remarkable events. It all begins with that irresistible urge to explore, to seek, and to discover.
From the moment you click that button, your intention morphs into a digital signal, embarking on an extraordinary journey. This signal, bearing your name and a single command—play this podcast—travels through a labyrinth of routers, modems, and service providers. It’s the inception of your voyage through the online world.
Encoded within this signal is the essence of your request, destined for your streaming service of choice. Be it Spotify or another platform, they swiftly respond by streaming bits of the podcast to your eager ears.
If you’re navigating the web through Google Chrome, your signal not only finds your podcast but also catches Google’s attention. Even in incognito mode, your digital footprint leaves traces, influencing future recommendations.
The sarcasm drips as we ponder if Google’s motives are truly altruistic. Behind the scenes, a vast network is watching, recording, and profiting from your online journey.
As your podcast plays, data packets traverse an intricate web of servers. Their journey is a complex dance, where each step is a leap into the unknown. The internet is a realm of speed and chaos, a realm where data travels through fiber-optic cables and dances with satellites in the sky.
To navigate this chaotic realm, data packets must bear precise labels. Countless networks decode these labels, tracking your data’s origins, purpose, and destination. While not every network cares about your data, many savor it greedily, for information is the new gold rush.
For those on mobile data, the journey is even more revealing. Cell towers and satellites triangulate your location, offering a window into your world. Apps and permissions further expose your life, raising questions about surveillance.
A clever detective could infer much from your online activities. Your searches, your routes, your habits—all form a mosaic that tells a story. From recipes to grocery stores, your desires are laid bare. Your bank, your family, your secrets—all susceptible to scrutiny.
If you value your data, don’t click on this podcast.
— Mike Duddy
Even your car isn’t safe from data collection. Manufacturers know your every move, and cameras might watch your every word.
By now, your name, address, and more are scattered across the web. It’s a hacker’s playground. But what if you stumbled upon this podcast via autoplay? Are you truly responsible for the content chosen for you?
The internet casts a unique and personalized reflection of each user—a digital mirror that captures but a fraction of your true self. Yet, these fragments, combined, reveal much about you.
Consider Joe, whose online persona is forged by a lifetime of digital exposure. From baby photos to gaming statistics, Joe’s digital footprint is extensive. Manufacturers use Joe’s gaming data to tailor recommendations, shaping his online experience.
Joe’s experiences extend beyond gaming; every online interaction adds to his digital tapestry. Social media, online relationships, and dating apps—all contributing to a growing portrait.
Yet, gendered algorithms loom large, segregating content based on assumed gender. The internet reflects society’s obsession with labels and categories.
As we progress, we explore the power of algorithms to craft personalized online experiences. Algorithms amplify emotions, creating echo chambers of belief and dissent. Uncle Ted’s fishing videos lead to polarized politics, and the algorithm’s influence is undeniable.
This digital world is both personal and alien, offering content that resonates while withholding other perspectives. Ads and recommendations drive consumption, yet they may lead users astray, highlighting the tension between free choice and algorithmic influence.
In a world where everyone is connected, privacy is a luxury. The script offers strategies for safeguarding your digital self, from VPNs to data deletion. Yet, true anonymity is elusive in our hybrid digital-physical society.
The internet is a tool, a reflection, and a force of change. It offers knowledge, connections, and experiences. It’s a human right and a human creation—a machine shaped by us, for us.
In this ever-evolving landscape, awareness is key. Choose your digital path mindfully, for you are not merely a reflection but a conscious navigator of the web’s complexities. The internet, with all its quirks and perils, awaits your exploration—a journey both exhilarating and enlightening. So, dive in and embark on this virtual adventure—it’s a voyage worth taking!
Jack is a fourth-year Creative Writing and Media Studies student who spends their island time writing novels and creating digital art. They are also the President of VIU’s Creative Writing Club. Their art, script, and poetry is featured in Portal Magazine, which they were co-Managing Editor of in 2023.