Sunday, February 10, 2008

Unmasked by Facebook

Scott Brown in Wired feb 2008:

"The story of the Net began with ultimate anonymity and the unfettered id liberation it catalyzed: A desire for anything - pet sex, pewter figurines, the Reform Party - could be discreetly indulged in the company of like-minded faceless lurkers.

Then came chapter two, the death, or rather the suicide, of privacy: We turned into twittering selectibitionists, eager to share choice cuts of our fascinating lives with the world and delighted to find free online apps encouraging us to do just that."

So I thought - is this not human nature?

Then he goes on to describe that the information we serve to our large groups of friends can be used for commercial purposes - not claiming that our privacy as such is being sold - but that parts can be aggregated and sold. What is new? Is this not what the Amazons, Googles and others have been doing for some time. Is it not better for us consumers that advertising is targetting our needs efficiently and thus not spending too much (we do know that we pay every cent spent on advertising).

Privacy has to be taken seriously - but everyone should understand that everything you make public - anywhere to more than just a few - will stay public - even if you want to pull it back.

The press is often trying to scare people - to get their attention - and then get the advertisers. Killer bee stories have scared people before. But we should perhaps be more worried about the free press - how can it regain some of its critically important credibility when these stories get megaphoned during an ordinary day.

The danger is that its fight against the inevitable makes it resort to more of this and then more readers go elsewhere - less revenue -  less reflective, critical, intelligent journalists can be afforded. I am not sure that the social media is ready to take on this role.

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