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We can't hide, nothing is private

I now have a profile on Facebook. I feel myself getting younger each day in this class. I only included the basic information on the site but I feel it was too much. I set up my profile after viewing the Google video about the access they have to all of the data. They say they won’t sell the data but there isn’t anything prohibiting them from doing so. That made me even more cautious with Facebook. Very few people in my demographic have profiles on Facebook or MySpace. I find it a little hard to relate to the value to these sites. In the Pew reading, 91% of the online networking users use the site to keep in contact with friends they see frequently and 82% use the site to stay in contact with friends the rarely see in person. If they see a friend in the hallway, do they talk to them or do they rush to their laptop to converse in cyberspace.

“The Master Plan about the power of Google? describes a situation kind of like big brother. Google scans all emails for keywords to build profiles for their users. They claim their goal is “don’t be evil? but who knows if the almighty dollar can change their mind. Companies are always data mining for information on the next trends or product usage. When Google taps into the key words in our emails, they can tailor advertising to fit our perceived lifestyle. This isn’t that far from zip code sorting for certain advertisers based on location and income. I am sure the mailings in certain neighborhoods in Edina are different from certain neighborhoods in Hopkins. There is a lot of money tied up in direct mail and address delivered advertising. Google has taken it to the next step. Not only can they project your income based on your profile, they can also provide competing advertisers with your IP address.

Cub Foods and SuperValu tried to do this with your receipt after your checkout at the store. The cash register is able to look at the scanned products from your cart and offer coupons from the competitor’s products for your next visit to the store. These coupons are printed on the back of the receipt.

Is there going to be a privacy backlash soon? With all of the information floating around it is only a matter of time that there is a major crash of all of the data. After that, nobody will be willing to give out any information. What will everyone do when they can't get their MySpace fix and they have to meet friends in person?

Comments

I thought your comment "If they see a friend in the hallway, do they talk to them or do they rush to their laptop to converse in cyberspace."
was both funny and insightful.
Do these social networks replace day to day interaction? Probably. I know that I use MySpace to save time-opposed to calling each one of my friends individually. But I am 30 with a family and 2 businesses - so I don't much time to socialize. I can't imagine that high schoolers are pressed for time. When I was in high school the highlight of my day was before school and after school so I could hang out with my friends in the cafeteria. Maybe this isn't the case anymore and kids rush home to their computers....

And 'backlash' in the future? I think in some ways they'll be consequences
for the lack of physical interaction- like a lower level of trust and intimacy in friendships.


Good post.

I found your "backlash" comment to be intruiging. Allthough I do not feel that the coupon/privacy industry will be the major source of this, I do see the possibility for such in the future. In one of my interactive advertising classes, we are learning that the internet provides so much information about individuals to advertisers that they don't know what to do with it all. It's a scary thought that they can monitor everything we do, and many people don't realize it!