Web 2.0 Technologies & Interview Bias

Web 2.0 Technologies & Interview Bias

February 22, 2024
How to Carry Out Great Interviews in Qualitative Research
Facilitation Reading
The Economy of the Social Media Era


  • Guiding Question: How do the emergence of big data and the erosion of privacy contribute to a sense of alienation in the digital economy? What is the impact of these developments on personal identity and social interactions?
Lecture Notes - My Notes

Week 5 Lecture Notes: Surveillance Capitalism in the Age of Web 2.0


  • Overview: Introduce the concept of surveillance capitalism as a defining characteristic of Web 2.0. Discuss how the rise of social media and big data analytics has led to new forms of economic and social organization.

The Rise of Web 2.0

  • Characteristics: Explain the key features of Web 2.0, including user-generated content, interactivity, and social networking.
  • Shift from Web 1.0: Contrast the user experience and economic models of Web 1.0 and Web 2.0.

Surveillance Capitalism: Definition and Emergence

  • Definition: Introduce Shoshana Zuboff's concept of surveillance capitalism.
  • Historical Context: Discuss how the business models of tech giants have evolved to monetize user data and behavior.

Economic and Social Implications

  • Data as a Commodity: Explore how personal data has become a new form of commodity in the digital economy.
  • Impact on Privacy: Analyze the impact of data collection practices on individual privacy and autonomy.
  • Behavioral Prediction and Manipulation: Discuss the implications of predictive analytics and targeted advertising on consumer behavior and societal norms.

Surveillance Capitalism and Alienation

  • Connection to Marx's Theory of Alienation: Draw parallels between Marx's concept of alienation and the experiences of individuals in the digital age, where personal data is commodified.
  • Impact on Identity and Social Relations: Reflect on how surveillance capitalism affects personal identity and social interactions, potentially leading to a sense of disconnection and loss of agency.

The Role of Big Data and Advertising

  • Big Data Analytics: Explain how the aggregation and analysis of vast amounts of data underpin surveillance capitalism.
  • Evolution of Online Advertising: Discuss how advertising has transformed with the advent of targeted and personalized marketing strategies.


  • Reflection and Discussion: Encourage students to reflect on their own experiences with social media and digital platforms. Discuss the broader societal implications of surveillance capitalism and the balance between technological benefits and privacy rights.

Questions for Further Exploration

  • How do individuals negotiate their privacy in the age of surveillance capitalism?
  • What are the ethical considerations in the collection and use of personal data?
  • Can there be a balance between technological innovation and the protection of individual rights in the digital age?

These lecture notes aim to provide a comprehensive overview of surveillance capitalism in the context of Web 2.0, encouraging students to critically engage with the material and consider its relevance to their own lives and society at large.

Please let me know if these notes meet your expectations for Week 5's Tuesday class, or if there are specific areas you'd like to adjust or expand upon.

To Read

"The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power" by Shoshana Zuboff. (Intro & Chapter 3)

This book delves into the concept of surveillance capitalism, analyzing how the commodification of personal data affects individuals' autonomy, leading to a form of digital alienation.

On Interviewing & Bias

Pay close attention to the section on interview’s bias

Supplemental Reading

If you have time, read Chapters 1 & 2 as well from Zuboff’s book.

To Watch

The intro music is terrible, but the interview is worth listening to (especially the first few minutes where Zuboff updates her thinking on the book we’ve read in class.)

To Do

This week, practice noticing your own biases when interviews and crafting questions for structured interviews.