Is privacy out the window in our connected age? Do we really care? And is it a bad thing?

We’ve all seen it. Facebook comes out with new privacy settings or new verbiage in the site’s Terms of Service. Or maybe they don’t make a change at all and your poor friends are falling for a real life Facebook Privacy Hoax  (FPH).

Side note: someone copyright FPH, because it happens all the time!

A small rebellion sets in. The following is copied and pasted into the status update box of friends:

With the new ‘FB timeline’ on its way this week for EVERYONE… please do both of us a favor. Hover over my name above. In a few seconds you’ll see a box that says “Subscribed”. Hover over that, go to “Comments and Likes” and unclick it. That will stop my posts and yours to me from showing up on the side bar for everyone to see, but MOST IMPORTANTLY IT LIMITS HACKERS from invading our profiles. If you repost this I will do the same for you.

It spreads like wildfire. And it is seen on Facebook timelines even a year after the FPH was started.

Beyond posting in a status update, do people really care?

Maybe for a minute.

Facebook’s own rhetoric on the topic of privacy is bookended by sharing, being connected, and bringing your world together. It is a place to gather, share and be a community.  (Note: read more on this topic in Jose Van Dijck’s book, The Culture of Connectivity.)

Who doesn’t want this? And do we care about the cost? What is the cost?

In my opinion, the cost is opening yourself up to being marketed to. But, how is this different than watching TV and seeing a commercial? I argue that for the user, it actually might be better than those shot in the dark commercials.

Do you care if marketers are using your data to target messaging?

As a marketer working in the social space, I don’t. I’m a mom. I have two kids. I work full time. I need childcare. How can I hate a sidebar ad for Sittercity giving me a free month of service that allowed me to find a babysitter we desperately needed?

Is this invasion privacy and marketers knowing something about me so bad? If I’m given perks that help me manage my day-to-day life, at a discount, and perfectly targeted to me? I’m not sure I can hate it.

But, what I do hate is an annoying, blanket ad for Magic Bullet. Or a quesadilla maker. Two things I will never need. No matter how hard the sell in the 30 minute infomercial.

So, in our connected world, is a byproduct a more sophisticated marketing effort? I argue that smarter targeting benefits everyone.

What do you think?

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