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Why Companies Love Your Likes

Discover how showing preferences online generates data about you.

This activity takes 45 minutes.

You may find these resources helpful:

Digital Bytes

Digital Bytes Facilitator's Guide


WHAT YOU'LL NEED

Computer or Phone
WiFiInternet
Speakers
Headphones
 

STEP 1
TIME: 5 MINUTES

Like or Dislike?

Gather a group of friends to play a game that shares their real-life likes and dislikes. Make one side of the room the “like” side and the other the “dislike” side. Have someone call out a brand, movie, song or actor. Then everyone gives it a thumbs up or a thumbs down and walks to the side of the room he or she agrees with.

Do this 4 or 5 times. Notice if you or any of your friends change your opinion based on what the majority of the group prefers.
Tell members they are going to play a game that shares their real-life likes and dislikes. Designate one wall as the “like” area. The other side of the room will be the “dislike” area. Explain that after you call out something, members will make a thumbs up or a thumbs down and walk to either the “like” or “dislike” area.

Suggestions for what to call out:
-- Samsung Galaxy phone
-- Doritos
-- Cats
-- Adidas

After, ask the group if anyone noticed whether people’s opinions were influenced by what the majority of their friends liked or disliked.

STEP 2
TIME: 10 MINUTES

A Closer Look at Likes and Why They Matter

Watch this video. 

Choose at least one of the following questions to answer. Write down your answer or talk about it with a friend.

-- What was your biggest takeaway from this video?
-- What part of this video struck you the most? Why?
-- What do you want to know more about? Why?

Watch "The Power of Likes" video as a group or have members watch individually or in pairs. Ask them discuss one of the questions listed in the youth instructions as a group or in small groups or pairs.

STEP 3
TIME: 10 MINUTES

Discuss How Companies Use Your Likes

The video mentioned that companies like Facebook and Google can predict things such as personality traits, religion, IQ and parents’ relationships. Sure, it makes sense that companies would want to predict something straightforward, like being a basketball fan, but why do you think companies want to predict other things about users?

-- What can they do with the information?
-- Does knowing that companies collect information and make predictions about you creep you out?
-- Or do you think it’s normal?

Grab a friend and share your ideas.
After watching the video, lead a short discussion about these questions:

-- Why do you think companies like Facebook and Google want to predict things like personality traits, religion, IQ and parents’ relationships?
-- What can companies do with that information?
-- How do you feel about companies collecting information and making predictions about you?

If members don’t seem to grasp the concept, explain that if you do a few searches for things like “March Madness” and “NBA,” then Google will predict that you are a basketball fan. The company will then show you ads for things like basketball sneakers and jerseys.

STEP 4
TIME: 15 MINUTES

What Does Social Media Say About You?

What do you think someone, or a company, could learn about you if they checked out all your social media accounts? What do you post about most often? What does this say about you?

Go to the site Wordle. Copy and paste the text from several of your social media posts, like tweets, Facebook status updates and Instagram captions. Then click “Go.” The Wordle represents common words in your posts; the bigger the word, the more frequently you use it.

Are you surprised by any of the words? Take a screenshot and share it with a friend. Ask if he or she thinks it is an accurate representation of your digital and/or in-person presence.
Call on members or ask for volunteers to answer these questions:

-- What do you think someone, or a company, could learn about you if they checked out all your social media accounts?
-- What do you post about most often?
-- What kind of online image have you created for yourself?

Have members use Wordle to create a visual representation of several of their social media posts.

Have members work in partners to talk about what they noticed about their Wordles and what they think that means in regard to their digital presence.

STEP 5
TIME: 5 MINUTES

Real-Life Likes

Tell someone in person that you like what he or she just said or did. Practice giving real-life likes.
Gather the group and ask for volunteers to “like” each other. In other words, say something that they like about what someone else said or did. Ask the group why they think we do so much of our “liking” virtually. How does it feel to give and receive “likes” in person?

STEP 6
TIME: 5 MINUTES

Save and Submit

Upload the screenshot of your Wordle to earn a star.

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