Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Facebook + Twitter + Your Privacy


Sent to you by moya via Google Reader:


via New Model Minority by admin on 3/9/10

Analog House

I have been thinking about a REALLY theoretical piece on the merging of our virtual worlds and our real (material) worlds (And the merging of Human Beings and corporations as well) and I haven't been able to wrap my head around it.

One of my research interests is technology and the self, so I KNEW I would have to write it.

Lotta shit to grapple with.

I have been talking to S.bot, whom older readers know is
a dear friend and a marketing mucktey-muck. She helps me to see the big picture regarding technology. She subscribes to Venture Capitalist newsletters to see where the billionaires are placing their stacks.  So when she talks I listen. Her three major assertions are that:

a.The move is to get us all on the grid, so that our movements can be monitored.

b. Marketing and content are not the thrust of the internet and making money, the information engineers are the ones who will get cake, along with the information analysts. Engineers create programs that have marketing embedded in them Facebook, Gmail, Four Square, no content (or your personal) is what drives this machine.

c . Consequently (liberal arts) students who can analyze massive amounts of data will be incredibly valuable. The system has transitioned into information gathering, organizing and analyzing.

d. The goal with information and surveillance data is to get us to consent to what is called bio-metrics under the guise that we need to do this for global security purposes, convenience or both.

The first thing I asked her was why would anyone care whether we are on the grid.

Her response, was that if we are monitored, we can be controlled.

Think about it, the more information you have about a person (reading their blog, Facebook, Twitter, online resume), the more you can anticipate their next moves.

If you know information about groups of people you can anticipate their next moves and arguably manipulate them. This will be incredibly rich in a world with global seed, water and food issues.

Social Media may be the grandest example of manufactured consent that we have ever seen.

Which brings me to why I feel a little less paranoid and was ultimately motivated to get my words down on paper. <<–hahaha. I know.

On Chartreuse's blog this morning, looking for a post that I want to respond to,  I came upon a Newsweek article article by Daniel Lyons about Facebook and how social media is "monitizing" our privacy. There three important quotes:

What's happening is that our privacy has become a kind of currency. It's what we use to pay for online services. Google charges nothing for Gmail; instead, it reads your e-mail and sends you advertisements based on keywords in your private messages.

The real holy grail is your list of friends. With that information, marketers can start sending more targeted messages. If you like a certain movie, or album, or mountain bike, your friends will probably like those, too. So they'll be good targets for ads for those products. Of course, your friends are not going to buy everything you do. It's not pinpoint accuracy. But the data helps marketers "narrowcast" their advertising. And it sure beats buying commercials on TV or splattering ads all over the Internet.

The genius of Google, Facebook, and others is that they've created services that are so useful or entertaining that people will give up some privacy in order to use them. Now the trick is to get people to give up more—in effect, to keep raising the price of the service.

These companies will never stop trying to chip away at our information. Their entire business model is based on the notion of "monetizing" our privacy. To succeed they must slowly change the notion of privacy itself—the "social norm," as Facebook puts it—so that what we're giving up doesn't seem so valuable. Then they must gain our trust. Thus each new erosion of privacy comes delivered, paradoxically, with rhetoric about how Company X really cares about privacy. I'm not sure whether Orwell would be appalled or impressed. And who knew Big Brother would be not a big government agency, but a bunch of kids in Silicon Valley?

And who knew Big Brother would be not a big government agency, but a bunch of kids in Silicon Valley?

Honestly, I am not certain that they are mutually exclusive.

Thank you for hanging in there with me.


Did the Lyons article help bring what I said home?

Am I reaching?

What does it mean to live in a surveilled world?

Related posts:

  1. Digital White Flight: On Twitter and Race


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