The Mysterious “cloud”

The mysterious cloud

We’ve all heard about the “cloud” and how we are able to store stuff somewhere up there, but not too many people truly understand how it actually works. The cloud is an enigma, meant to be seen as a type of technology that is “above” us. We trust it to save our digital footprints and really our identities, without even knowing how it operates or works.

In this weekend’s readings Signal Traffic: Critical Studies of Media Infrastructures, written by Lisa Parks and Nicole Starosielski, we read about the cloud and how it is actually based on the ground, and its truly not what you may think. The cloud is composed of hundreds of thousands of super computers that can store a ton of data. These super computers and gathered together in a physical infrastructure and kept maintained by a select few. I find it very interesting how we as users see the cloud to be a mysterious being that can save everything we throw in it, however, in reality, it is man-made, maintained by man, and hidden away by man.

In the readings Parks and Starosielski described these physical infrastructures as,” …the physical presence of this imaginary space, and yet they strive to remain invisible in many ways.” But why do they keep the cloud hidden? The reading then goes on to say, “…concealment strategies keep citizens naive and uninformed about the network technologies they subsidize and use each day.”

We see that the cloud is meant to be hidden to keep the users distant, and unaware of what companies are using them for. These companies could be using our data from good or for bad, we don’t know, all we can say for certain is that the “cloud” is more than meets the eye.


The meme:

Signal Traffic: Critical Studies of Media Infrastructure, edited by Lisa Parks and
Nicole Starosielski, published in 2015.

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