It didn’t set well with me when Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook stated people are becoming more comfortable with sharing personal information online, thus basically giving up their privacy.
But when I read how Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google referred to Google+ as an “identity service” bells went off in my head. It’s not that I have a problem using my real name online, but it does make me wonder why it’s so important to Google.
Let’s face it, social networking sites are database gold mines filled with all kinds of information advertisers and/or governmental agencies would love to get their hands on.
The sad part of it is, we voluntarily fill those databases.
In a previous lesson we talked about creating a digital footprint. We also discussed the importance of self-monitoring so what we share doesn’t lead to identity theft.
When we look at it as US creating a digital footprint, it sounds like we’re in control.
However, when we become aware others may be using the information we share on social networking sites to “profile” us, it feels like the tables are turned.
Let’s take a look at a sampling of how we provide demographics and psychographics with what we share.
We disclose our sex (gender) and marital status. If we have kids, we often say how many, plus their ages. We write about our likes and rant about our dislikes. We say where we live, talk about our jobs, our favorite foods, hobbies and the sports team(s) we follow. Some go as far as sharing their birth date (age) and anniversaries, too. Based on who we follow, our religious and political preferences become obvious. Some of us share our routines, where we go and how we got there (mode of transportation).
We share photos of ourselves, friends and children and write about our insecurities and our accomplishments.
In other words, we’re voluntarily profiling ourselves and offering the information for free while others
are may be profiting from our ignorance trustworthiness.
When I look at it that way, I find it disturbing. But when I think of what I share as building my digital footprint, I feel I’m in control.
But am I?
Knowing what you share online could be used to profile you, will you change what, how and where you communicate online?
Care to share?