‘If you use a tech product for free then the product is you…’ ~ Mark Suster
There’s a front end and a back end on the use of the web and current social media. While it’s masked as CRM, or individually targeted marketing so you can get better deals easier and faster, we are currently trading our privacy for free chips, or a $5 deal on brownies.
Foursquare or Twitter are helping us to willingly trade our privacy for a deal. Even if it could be considered a win-win situation, what the majority of users of the web tends to forget is that there are almost no barriers to entry for the cyberspace, as there is no limits to the data that it can actually hold. That’s why Please Rob Me sparked the controversy about geolocation. You are trading your information, which is not private anymore, to get a $5 discount at the cinema, and then you are willingly telling the world that you are not at home so they can come in and rob you.
From the author of Program or Be Programmed “Ask a kid what Facebook is for and they’ll answer ‘it’s there to help me make friends’. Facebook’s boardroom isn’t talking about how to make Johnny more friends. It’s talking about how to monetize Johnnny’s social graph. Ask yourself who is paying for Facebook. Usually the people who are paying are the customers. Advertisers are the ones who are paying. If you don’t know who the customer of the product you are using is, you don’t know what the product is for. We are not the customers of Facebook, we are the product. Facebook is selling us to advertisers.”
And you don’t even need to go “fancy” with social media. Nothing is as private as you think anymore. Just knowing how to send emails from the right place at the right time, and you can trigger probes and end up the career of your ex-lover, who happened to be the chief of the CIA, David Petraeus. I would bet General Petraeus wished he was Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible and had the power of send messages that will self-destruct themselves. It still may seem a little futuristic, but privacy is a business both for its excess or its defect. In fact “92% of the nation’s top divorce attorneys say that they have seen an increase in the number of cases using evidence taken from iPhones, Droids, and other smartphones during the past three years.“. And there is a business behind it, freeware or shareware:
Even if you are still the kid that wants to make friends, it’s your responsibility to make sure you keep up to date on new privacy policies and how much are you protecting, and how much are you sharing on the web and how. Since advertisers are the users and you are the product, privacy is ultimately becoming currency and source of revenue.
Would you rather share a lot and become “cheap” or just share the necessary, protect your privacy and your “net” value?