8 Privacy Observations: All Your “Surface Information” are Belong to Us

Photo cred: Frog Design

Woah…Are you crazy bro? You’re going to check in?! But, everyone will know where you are! What if they want to rape or rob or…omg… what if there’s a creepy stalker dude just following you everywhere taking pictures to use in internet sex pornos?!

…wait, you don’t care?

1. “Surface information” is public property.

To this point, we’ve known privacy to mean that ONLY the people that we choose to bring in, will know things like your middle name, your location, the things you like, the things you hate, where you go at night, and who “it’s complicated” with…

We’ll call this “surface information“.  Surface information is the demographics of an individual.  It’s the type of stuff you add to your facebook profile.  If you’re still holding on to that information like it’s the key to your humanity…give up.

This information is no longer private. Privacy as we knew it is dead.

2. The kids and their rap music.

Think millenials are the ones changing the concept of privacy? Just wait…  Millenials’ children will have an entirely different view of privacy.  They’ll know the “innovative” platforms of today as the norm.  They’ll be raised with the understanding that their surface information is not their own but rather that of their networks.

There is a clear human need to share and connect that, with social sites like facebook and twitter, has knocked our previous perception of privacy and interaction on its ass.  I’ve witnessed this transformation throughout my life.  I can only imagine what’s in store for my kids…although if I have a daughter, she’s going to be locked in her room until she’s 18 and all tweets will have to be approved.

3.  The tools are coming.

So now that we know people love to share stuff, and connect with people based on the stuff they share, we will continue to build tools that allow for this human need to flourish.

As more tools are created to connect people and share information, more people will connect, and more information will be openly shared.

Foursquare is a new generation of technology that allows people to share information.

And it won’t stop there.  An interesting new startup was born out of Startup Weekend NYC recently.  It’s called Data Dough, and it allows people to “Take back the CASH companies like facebook and twitter make off of YOUR data!”.  People already love to share useless shit about themselves.  Imagine if they could actually make money by doing so…  Privacy what?

4. Businesses are starting to see the value in social platforms.

This means they’re more willing to pay to reach people on social platforms.  This means social platforms are more willing to sell your information.

When facebook made some this stuff automatically public, people had a fucking conniption. It was the end of the world. Our sacred information was just out there for anyone to have their way with.

Thing is, this information really isn’t worth much to us and is no longer considered worthy of hiding. In fact, we want people to know this stuff. We want others to know who we know, who we hang out with and as much of this “surface level” information as possible.

It actually makes our lives better when businesses know our tastes.  I can stop getting shitty ads about losing 50 pounds in 5 days and start getting more shitty ads about getting 20000 twitter followers in 15 minutes.  Much more targeted.

5. It’s not up to you.

You can try your best to control all of your surface information.  Unfortunately, we’re in an age where information is very often, crowdsourced.  That means that if you don’t post up pictures of yourself, someone else will. Anything you do or say in public is fair game on the social web.  So  unless you want to live like a hermit, you’re probably just going to have to accept it.

6. Augmented reality + facial recognition = everyone knows everyone at the surface.

Check out the image at the top of this post and the other sweet designs that Frog design came up with for augmented reality in our day-to-day lives.  Now realize, that the technology already exists, and this is not too far away.  The potential implications are vast, and will undoubtedly, redefine our perception of privacy in the next 10 years.

7. But don’t worry, you’re relatively safe.

As  documentation technology becomes increasingly engrained in society, the ability to do evil without being caught decreases greatly.  There are more eyes watching you so it’s harder to commit crimes without being seen.  More eyes watching means more information can be safely shared.

Try mugging someone in a major city and running away.  You’ll be more evidentially fucked than BP on earth day.

8. Real secrets are still yours to keep…even more so!

Privacy is becoming black and white. Some things you share with everyone, and other things you share with no one.  That means that the information you hold near and dear to your heart are more safe than ever.

Why?

People think that because they know your surface information, that they know who you are.  People are lazy, and so if they can convince themselves that they know everything about a person from checking their facebook page and a quick google search, they won’t dig much deeper.

That’s all I got.  You might disagree but it’s a clear trend in my eyes.  What are your thoughts? …or are you keeping them a secret?  Smart ass.

Using Seesmic Desktop to Manage Streams of Information

This week, our #u30pro chat is on “managing your information streams” so I figured I’d share a little bit about how I manage my twitter streams to consume, and share content.

Whether you’re a casual twitter user, or you tweet more than you speak, I highly recommend trying out a desktop client like Seesmic Desktop (the app I use) or the other big option, Tweetdeck.

I never really grasped the value in twitter until I started using some 3rd Party Apps. If you don’t want to download a client, try out Hootsuite.  I use it to schedule my tweets.

My stream is bigger than your stream.

I currently have 5 accounts that I manage using Seesmic:

  1. My personal twitter account.
  2. My personal facebook account.
  3. The Scribnia twitter account.
  4. The Scribnia facebook page.
  5. The #u30pro twitter account.

So any time I post a message, I can check off any number of these accounts, and the message will go out to each one I check off.

As you can see from the scroll bar at the bottom of that image, I have quite a few columns in there.  Let me go through them:

1. The Basics

The first 2 columns are where I view all the basic tweets. I’ll use the first column to click through the home feeds for each account and my direct messages.  The second column is where I see all my replies (for all accounts).

2. The Groups

Ok you caught me, I don’t keep a close eye on all 1000 people that I follow.  I do check up on each feed several times a day, but there are some people I want to make sure I don’t miss.

I have 4 groups:

  1. Focus. These are people that I don’t know too well yet, but I want to interact with them more often and get to know them better.  I keep this group to 20 or less people to make sure I am in fact, focusing on them.
  2. Twitter’s Finest. I’ve maintained this group for well over a year now.  It’s the people I know, and trust.  The people I don’t want to miss.
  3. Blogging Tips. This is a feed of people that share a lot of blogging tip content.  I use this group to find good content to share with the Scribnia community.
  4. Scribnia Community. These people are Scribnia’s most active and supportive members.  I use this group to be sure to I’m interacting with the people who have helped us grow.

3. The Searches

I won’t get too into detail for these ones because they tend to change pretty often.  A few keywords that I keep all the time:

  • Scribnia: to keep an eye out for mentions.
  • #u30pro: to see what content our community is sharing throughout the week
  • #blogchat: my other favorite chat that provides some solid content throughout the week

I keep a number of search columns open.  I experiment with different keywords such as “looking for new blogs” or “help blogging” that will allow me to find people in Scribnia’s potential audience to help on twitter.

I’ll also keep tabs on mentions of competitors, and random chats that I come across.

So…

That’s how I organize my streams of information.

How do you organize your streams of information? If you’re around, please join us tomorrow night (8pm est) for a #u30pro chat on managing your streams of information, on (and off) the clock.

How Long Until Truthful Information Becomes Worthless?

Photo cred: Diego Sevilla Ruiz

Hypothetical situation: You trust me. I post an article somewhere. Your trust for me then translates to trust in the content I’m sharing, and so you trust that the article is credible. Then you share it, your readers trust you…rinse, and repeat.

Safe to say this happens often?

Today, credibility in content is determined by who and how many share it. As credibility becomes increasingly determined by sharability the value of the truth is driven downward.

Look at it from a basic economic perspective. As the supply of information increases, the price of information decreases. Supply is at an all time high, price is at an all time low. As the price of information decreases, the resources used to provide quality information becomes unaffordable. If consumers don’t pay for information, suppliers can’t invest any money to ensure its credibility.

Truthful information has never faced the competition it faces today. As citizen journalism grows as a primary source for information, the need for investigative journalism as a paid alternative decreases.

Bloggers do not have to write truthful content. In fact, many of the most successful (popular) blogs focus on SEO and on writing successful copy in order to drive ad revenue, product and affiliate sales. Their “success” in driving traffic then translates to credibility in the eyes of the reader. If a blogger gets a ton of traffic, they must be credible, right?

They’re writing to get more people to come to their site, with absolutely no check on honesty.

Truthful content still exists, but is often buried under google pages of the popular stuff. Even if you refused to take information at face value, and choose to dig deeper in search of the truth, chances are you won’t find it.

As you become more reliant on social networks to determine what information is worthy of reading, you play into a system that has minimal consideration for credibility.

Where honesty should reign supreme, popularity now drives authority and credibility.

How much longer until truthful information becomes completely worthless?