The Takeaway from Social Media in 2010

 

Online privacy means a lot to us, but for a majority of us, it’s only important when we know our privacy has been invaded. In social networks and social media, every time we join a new shiny network, or register for something online, we give up a little piece of our privacy, like a sculptor chipping away at a piece of marble. Sometimes knowingly, sometimes not, we’re giving up who we are to marketers and brands.

You see, every time we create a profile we are allowing someone to glimpse a little bit more about us than most might really be comfortable with; but we do it because that’s what’s asked or required of us in order to “play”; and like I said, some of you might not even know it. Some of you might not care, because hey, “we’re living in the age of uber transparency”!

Yes we have a right to know what information is being gathered about us, how it is used and whether it is gathered at all, yet most of us are too busy trying to get on the other side of an app to be bothered with reading a EULA or a TOS agreement. Why is that?

I have a feeling  that the reason is similar to when you are hearing a radio spot and at the very end of the spot you’ll hear a guy talking so fast, you have no idea what he just said, so you ignore it, Because all you really care about is the deal that was mentioned in front of the fast talking man-The carrot, the offer, the opportunity. Privacy be damned. Most marketers and companies assume correctly that making the TOS’s and EULA’s so ridiculously convoluted, that we as consumers will just get tired of reading and will click the agree button. And the devil…is buried in the details.

Facebook did the same thing when it came to compromising our privacy the first time. How many times has it changed it’s privacy policy? Most of  the 500 million users probably don’t care what is happening to their data-and that’s a scary thought; but enough of them care to call Facebook out for assuming that we are ready to alter our perception of what is acceptable in data mining- and thus we’ve able to somewhat keep them in check.  I am still not comfortable about the purported data leaks, or satisfied that Facebook is doing all it can to value my privacy, but then again it’s a 1000 times better than it initially was.

So let me ask you something. As we head into 2011, are you cool with giving up snippets of your personal data for the sake of playing Farmville? Or being part of Groupon? or Foursquare?Are you comfortable with that? Are you truly prepared for radical transparency? I’m not sure I am just yet.