From digitalization to datafication – what do we now about our digital trace?
A master’s thesis with focus on consumer awareness of the digital trace amongst Danish consumers in the age of 20-30 years.
The technological and digital developments through the past 30 years have given the opportunity for new business to emerge and for existing business to benefit from new technologies. For development to happen it requires that any given society in which a technology is present is ready for a change. Therefore, the foundation of the thesis will be based on a historical as well as theoretical timeline for technological, digital and data minded developments.
Today, data is omnipresent and as a consumer of almost anything you can or will be tracked, traced and targeted. At least for Denmark both the public and private sector has gone from analog to digital and the adaptation has made Denmark one of the leading countries of digitalization in Europe (Erhvervsstyrelsen, 2019). This development has interested me for some time, which led me to a minor in digital organizations and communication and the problem area of my thesis.
Therefore, this thesis will be investigating the digital trace that 20-30-year-olds people of Denmark leave with the following problem statement:
How conscious are 20-30 year-olds people of Denmark about the digital trace they leave and how do hey experience getting something back in return for the information they consciously or unconsciously share?
Mixed methods consists of both quantitative and qualitative method, which combined can go further into depths than one method is capable of its own. Thereby, it is possible to measure the validity of the investigations. “Explanatory sequential mixed method” will be applied to the thesis, where a quantitative research was conducted through a digital questionnaire followed up by a total of 9 in depth interviews.
Besides a historical and theoretical timeline, I will be introducing consumer behavior, consumer awareness, additional information on big data and datafication, an illustration of downward communication that I will refer to as the Data Law’s hierarchy, transparency.
During my analysis, I focused on how much knowledge the respondents of my questionnaire had. For the analysis of the interviews, the focus was to investigate how informed the informants were about sharing information with particularly companies and the experiences thereof. Further, I tried to get them to explain those experiences to get an understanding of how aware they are.
A finding is that the group of 20-30 year-olds do not have an extensive knowledge on the topic of data and they are aware to the point of them taking active choices but not much beyond that. According to themselves, they are quite aware, however, by investigating more into depth, some of them are uninformed and therefor also unconscious and even surprised by the small amount of facts they are given during the interviews.
After presenting the results of the analysis, I will be discussing the findings with a focus on transparency and surveillance. Here, I will be arguing pros and cons from various theorists.
In conclusion, I argue that it is hard for the consumers to know more than just the founding basis of data, data sharing and what goes on behind the screen. The developments happen so quickly where one thing will effect you and the next will not. Primarily, the informants from the qualitative study demonstrate a test sample representative of the 20-30 year-olds show a basic but narrow knowledge on datafication and the digital trace they leave behind.
Looking into the future in regards to digitalization and datafication, I believe that there is no way going back and the question is how to prepare for the unknown.
|Educations||MSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis|
|Number of pages||87|