Tweetdeck screenshot of 4 columns.

Are you highly active on Twitter? Is Twitter your main source of news? If so TweetDeck is the application for you! TweetDeck is an amazing alternative to typical search engines such as Google. Similar to twitter, you chose who and what you want to follow. However the great part about it is that you can have multiple personalized columns that are catered to transmit different sets of data. For example, in the screenshot above of my TweetDeck, there are four personalized columns: Online Privacy, #privacy, Funny Tumblr Posts, #tumblrpost. I found TweekDeck as a very useful tool to organize the popular searches I want to be updated on. At any given time, I can go to the desired column to satisfy my needs as apposed to searching about them.

In addition I was fond of the multiple types of columns TweetDeck offered. Some of them included; favourites, lists, searches, and trending. With these options, users can virtually have columns for just about any interest. Also one of the greatest features of TweetDeck is that as a user, you can keep your personal account separate from the columns you create. This means that unlike Twitter, you do not have to follow users in order to be updated of their content. I personally really enjoyed this feature because there have been many instances where I have wanted to search certain users and/or trending topics. However I did not want to have to follow an account in which I would only read their tweets one or twice a month. Ultimately, I greatly recommend TweetDeck for users looking for more customizability with Twitter.

Firefox – Lightbeam: Behind the Scenes of Web Browsing

Lightbeam Screenshot

After surfing the web for the 20 minutes there was a lot of interesting data I discovered through Lightbeam. To start, I found that the way Lightbeam presented their data visualization was very appropriate. When you break it down, the Internet is a never-ending web of connections. In fact, I guarantee that if I continued to surf the web for another hour or two, that web would continue to grow.

I also found it interesting that as I went through my routine of web browsing, Google was always placed in the center of the web on Lightbeam. It’s not very surprising when you think about it, as Google is the number one search engine. However it did put things into perspective by forcing me to acknowledge how reliant I am on this one search engine, as it was always point A from which I branched out from while browsing the web.

Lightbeam logo
Lightbeam logo

Something that was a little more surprising to me was the amount of cookies I obtained within those 20 minutes of surfing the web. I never took the time to realize how much and how quickly websites obtain and store personal information. Although it may not seem as much, when you look at the statistics it is a little alarming. I came across 6 cookies in 20 minutes that is approximately 18 cookies per hour of web browsing, depending on the online activity. That is a lot of traceable information being sent out hourly.

The more I looked into the cookies and where they were being sent to, the more I realized how much of the deep web exists! Based on the screenshot above, I only visited 6 websites, but I was connected to 26 third party sites. I was quite shocked about this data because it made me aware of all the hidden works that goes on behind the scenes while individuals are browsing the web. Ultimately, from this entire experience, I have become more conscious of what actually occurs while I am surfing the web.