The relationship viewed as transactional

As January 2010 slowly slips away I’m struck by thwo things I’ve read today, actually 3. Lets back up a week to add some context to what I’m about to say. On January 8th  Mark Zuckerberg the founder and CEO of Facebook made the following comment:

If he were to create Facebook again today, user information would by default be public, not private…

Here is the full blown article as found on ReadWriteWeb: Facebook’s Zuckerberg Says The Age of Privacy is Over

Following that admission, Shel Israel and I had an exchange on Twitter that started with this from Shell…

At which point I said:

@shelisrael Agree. I know I’m pigeonholing here but millenials have a different notion of what privacy is or should be..

To which Shell responded”

@Marc_Meyer I don’t know if you’ve asked Millenials how they feel about privacy. I think you should ask them b4 making a blanket statement.


Would you see it the same, if FB also started posting street addresses? phone #s? SSN? How about photos of kids? Does he decide? 10:38 AM Jan


It would depress me greatly to think an entire generation had lost a sense of privacy. That would be Orwellian.

My point in all of this? Mark Zuckerberg comes from a different place, he operates in a different space. Millenials treat privacy differently and so does he. I’m not making a blanket statement as much as I’m referring to Zuckerberg, who is a millenial, and who has created a completely different notion of what privacy is and should be. Relationships and privacy mean different things to Zuckerberg.

Now lets take danah boyd who says:

Publicity has value and, more importantly,  folks are very conscious about when something is private and want it to remain so. When the default is private, you have to think about making something public. When the default is public, you become very aware of privacy. And thus, I would suspect, people are more conscious of privacy now than ever. Because not everyone wants to share everything to everyone else all the time.”

Yes, but here is why I titled this post the relationship viewed as transactional.  As danah has so accurately stated, publicity has value. As a society we have always been attracted by and to celebrity, be it as tragedy, comedy or otherwise. Our society devours celebrities as three squares a day. Because of this,  and because of the social web, that potential for celebrity exists at every turn. But it comes at a cost in 2 forms. One form is what we hope to gain from that transaction and the other comes in the form of what we give up or are willing to part with. Look at it as a deal with the devil if you will.

We like our privacy but we love our 15 minutes of fame. In fact we love it so much that Josh Harris, of internet shooting star fame stated:

Andy Warhol said that, in the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes,” Harris told me. “But I think he misunderstood what was happening. I think what people are demanding is 15 minutes of fame every day. And mark my words, they will get it. That’s where we’re heading, whether we like it or not.”

Relationships as transactions. We might not admit it, but what the social web has created is an unstated platform for every social interaction to have the potential to catapult one at best, into a cult of personality. In fact I would venture that though most might not admit, but part of their social strategy is to be “found” or to create a connection that results in…yep you guessed it, some type of transaction..Disingenuous? It depends on who you ask.

The upside/ 15 minutes of fame. The downside you may lose control of your privacy.

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5 thoughts on “The relationship viewed as transactional

  1. Good post. Valid concerns.

    One of my great concerns with Facebook in the way they handle data is the total lack of transparency in how or which data of yours is shared among applications you’re using on the service.

    The API makes allowances for certain types of data to be discovered by an App developer right? Why do the terms of service for them not dictate that we be informed at the time of installation of the app exactly what data they’re downloading and monitoring? We should also be informed of data they later choose to add — so you can opt out if you wish, or stop using the app entirely.

    I’d really like to notifications of this added to the next generation of Facebook. If they want more open details on the users, then give us some control to understand just what we’re giving away in terms of information? Give me more power over the transaction itself, not just the option of yes or no for installation. Help me understand exactly what I’m giving away to that developer.

  2. Being a millenial myself we certainly are more open to publicly putting our personal lives and updates out there. Sure it’s a narcissistic thing, just how we have been raised with the technology I suppose. But I think it has its limits and clearly can be seen. The same way I outgrew my earrings when I graduated college, I outgrown putting some things on the internet. I am more picky about pictures I put up, status messages I may leave, or connections I make. Also would not include phone numbers, SSN, or address at all. Some people may feel comfortable but I believe people have their limits. Including Zuckerberg which is why I think he is prob full of it with that statement because he would not have everything public as well.

  3. because of the monolithic nature of FB, I wonder if their assumptions are that we can stretch things a bit more, piss people off and they will continue to utilize us. If customers and I use the term lightly since FB sells nothing, are their currency, they can piss away or is it piss off millions, and it barely makes a dent. Apparently they put a low value on the transactional relationship of each of their users?

  4. Well, all conspiracy theories aside, it sounds just like Google. Google is another company that wants all of your information online yet desires nothing apparent in return.

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