I was thinking about privacy today. There is a much talk about Facebook (or any other internet entity that has a social focus) and the controversy surrounding your privacy. I guess most people aren’t aware that there are a litany of options for you when it comes to sharing your data on Facebook. You can open yourself up to the entire world or you can make everything private. I don’t necessarily view Facebook as being mis-leading to its gazillions of users about privacy, I view the gazillions of users who don’t take the time to seek out their privacy options as……..lazy, I guess.
Oh, there is grand debate about your privacy settings when you first sign up – some may say that Facebook should make ALL of your data private from the get-go. But they don’t. Or that they should make the privacy options easier to understand. But they don’t, really. I’ll let you guess why. It starts with an M and it ends with a Y. They need dinner, too, you know. That’s why those ads you see on the right side of the page are so eerily accurate when it comes to your interests. They are accurate most of the time, any way. Nobody is perfect. So why is everyone so spooked? I don’t think the Facebook ads are that invasive. Sometimes I laugh at the targeting. But other times I’m pretty impressed that a lot of the advertising is stuff I am actually interested in. I can tell you that I, as a marketer, have bought these ads for the company I work for and I’ve been largely happy with the results.
Yes, privacy in the age of the internet has gotten much looser and there is potential for more impact. You can’t argue that one. There’s a lot of info about you out there. I remember as a wee lad, we used to pull the old ’79 Mercury Cougar up to the Fotomat. Kids of the ’70s and ’80s, you surely remember this little place! Oh, you don’t? Well, look here. When I say little, I mean little. We used to pull the car up and drop off and pickup our photos. Of course, as a kid I never gave much thought to privacy, but let’s face it, as far back as forever your privacy has been exposed to many people of all stripes, including those high schoolers who worked at Fotomat that could see all your family pictures. Just imagine some of the stuff THEY saw! Or think about this – in the early age of the telephone, operators could sit there and listen to your every word. Don’t forget that. Having your privacy exposed is not some new-fangled issue. It’s just become more of a target with the explosion of the internet – there is clearly more on the line.
So the whole privacy thing? A concern for sure, but let’s not get all overheated about it. Do the work to protect yourself – websites aren’t going to do it for you. If you are at all suspicious, then simply don’t participate. Like Gene Simmons said, “if you don’t like it, then don’t listen to it.” And I hate Gene Simmons.