Alicia Raciti is a User Experience Designer based in Philadelphia. She transitioned from music school student to UX designer in the middle of her collegiate career. Now, she specializes in UX design for international business and the complex problems of enterprise systems. You can regularly find her dancing around the hallways or at her desk. Her thoughts can be found on Twitter as @acr523.
It’s common practice to encourage people to focus on what they want to do. What are your goals? What do you want to be when you grow up? These questions focus on the future and where you are going and what you want. I have yet to come across a situation where someone has asked, “What do you prefer not to do?” in relation to work, goals, and life. We know we do not like something when we come across it, but to be consciously aware is a different situation.
I’ve recently had to answer some of these, sometimes difficult, questions. The last year of my career was not spent actively trying to figure out what I want in work and a career, it was time spent learning what I do not want. I spent time learning about what I do not want by actually doing it. I repeat, I spent time learning about what I do not want by actually doing it. Just like trying a new type of food for a change only to find out you don’t like it. You have to try things before you can actively say that it does not work because if you try, you’re able to recall the moment and become consciously aware of the situation if it may arise in the future because you now know what it feels like.
How do the “things I do not want to do” impact the forward looking self? What you want and do not want in something creates a balance. When you’re cognitively aware of both, it settles the mind because clarity has been achieved.
Who’s protecting the rhinos?
Re-visiting an old college textbook of mine, Media Ethics: Issues and Cases, I stumbled upon a piece on early Facebook. This particular chapter focuses on privacy and highlights a change Facebook made to its newsfeed in 2006. The synopsis goes like this, Facebook changed its newsfeed so that all information shared on Facebook was now broadcasted to a person’s network. Messages intended for one person were soon available to everyone in a network. People were outraged and upset and users were calling for a day without Facebook. If you remember, Facebook was only available to college students with a college email address at this time and social media wasn’t what it is now.
Oh how the times have changed! In a world where social media is how a majority of the population receives their news and keeps up with their friends and family, we now share many intimate parts of our lives with each other through technology. My feeds are currently filled with engagements, weddings, and babies. We have an ownership of the content we share and with that ownership, how often are we thinking about the harm that the media we publish can bring to another human or an endangered species? I recently saw a photo on twitter posted by Tim Bennett in Australia asking those on a tour to remove geotagging and any notation of where the photo was taken from social media in an effort to save rhinos from being poached. In a time where everything is readily available and it appears that rhino poachers are using social media to find their next kill, is it my responsibility to keep the rhinos safe?
John Stuart Mill’s direct utilitarianism focuses on the outcome of an action. As Stanford’s Encyclopedia of Philosophy states, “any object of moral assessment (e.g. action, motive, policy, or institution) should be assessed by and in proportion to the value of its consequences for the general happiness.” So what happens if I take a photo of the rhino and post it to my social media accounts with geolocation turned on? Does this act affect my happiness? Is it my duty to put the rhino’s happiness above mine? I want to show all of my friends what an awesome trip I’m on, so do I forego the fact the picture I share could lead to the death of a rhino? By posting the photo online and not removing the geolocation, I have contributed to my happiness. It makes me happy to share these moments with my Facebook friends, Twitter followers, etc. Conservationists and the rhino may not be happy, but I am. On the other hand, are there legal repercussions for sharing a photograph that leads to poaching? Do I know this when I post the photo? If there are legal ramifications, what will happen to me? Will my photography be used against me in court? If that is the case, I will not be happy.
We can always take the rhino’s side too, and determine that by not posting the photo, the rhino will have another day to live and that I did not contribute to the rhino’s death whenever it may occur.