Google and Facebook Stank.


    Google and Facebook are beginning to get a little stink on them due to all this privacy talk in the press and social web.   It’s like a drum beat.  The latest chatter is about the ability for geo-tagged personal photos be crawled and shared on the web without permission, thanks a to some hacks, apps and data scavenging.  It is also happening on Apple iPhones (according to today’s NYT) but Apple’s privacy rep is too strong, and they will do something about quickly.

    As Facebook and Google stay reactive to this type of thing, rather than be proactive or preemptive, their images stain.  Blackberry, on the other hand, focuses on privacy; its geo-tagging photo app is a bit more transparent (Do I smell an ad?).

    Priv-acy (love the Brits) is topical because it is a very human value.  The social web is helping us realize privacy is over-rated and that’s pretty that’s cool but it’s still something we need to control and protect.  If the target of this privay news was Microsoft the market would go ballistic. Because it’s Google, not so much.  But they (and Facebook) had better clean the smelly stuff off their sneakers quickly. Peace!

    Helpful or Private?


    On the web the most helpful people win – not always the smartest. Social app makers have created lots of online social media plays that reward people for providing good information. They get badges, status, followers, elevations in cred and klout.  It’s how the web roles – remuneration for helpfulness. I follow David Brooks, with whom I do not necessarily share political views because he makes me smarter. He’s helpful.

    Enter Edward Snowden, Verizon and the govies. And privacy (in this post pronounced priv-ah-cee). Everybody wants privacy.  I don’t want to be served ads for a product I’m doing brand research on. It shows someone’s watching.  Yet I look at Google Analytics every day, hoping for spikes in traffic. I try being helpful online to build readers. So I don’t always want privacy.  Am I a walking conundrum?  Nope, just a human.

    I also happen to be one of those people who has never seen a grisly body part. I was nervous riding the railroad under the river to NYC post 9/11. I sign off every blog post with “Peace.”

    I’m reading Ben Franklin’s bio and wonder what he would say. Hell, what would I say? I say let’s debate. That’s what American’s do. Let’s compromise. That’s what Americans do. Let’s be helpful.  That’s what Americans should do.  Peace.  


    For Profit Browser.


    The online world is all abuzz about priv-ah-see. There’s a new icon that will be appearing on social sites soon that will allow visitors to turn off tracking software, making it harder for advertisers to target users based on behavior., a business software package growing faster than kudzu in Georgia, is an information gathering tool that lets corporations track their salesforce activity so that if a sales person leaves the company their records, communications and contacts don’t too. plans to monetize by placing ads or links based on the likes and dislikes of its Tweeters. Instead of Burger King placing ads on they will soon be able to place them among Twitter followers of Eddy Curry, the New York Knicks center with the penchant for caloric foods.

    Research suggests that Teens, Tweens and Millennials aren’t nearly as anal about online privacy as are pundits, but that will change. There is already a cottage industry developing – advertised on radio of all places – whereby people can pay to wipe out their online doings.  We need a quick way to toggle between social and private. I think it should be a browser-based tool.  When I’m shopping, I want help. When I’m surfing, I’d prefer to be left alone.  And I might just pay for that type of browser.  Peace!

    Opt-In Vs. Opt-Out.


    It was fascinating to learn that Facebook’s privacy policy is 1,000 words longer then the U.S. Constitution. It seems nation-building back in the day was easier than signing up for a social network today. The average novel is 80,000 words; the Facebook privacy policy is close to 6,000 words. They want us to read a bit less than 10% of a book to sign up. 

    I’m guessing only about 1% of the population has ever read a Terms and Conditions or privacy policy document and that percent probably passed the bar. (I was once responsible for Ts and Cs at a company and it was truly an exercise in plagiarism, with a lateral to a lawyer.)

    Privacy policy needs to be opt-in, not opt-out.  That is, users must click with whom and what they want shared. A manual Opt-In selection.  This makes it so everything starts out as private and users and info to be shared must be selected. Right now everything is pre-set for share and you must deselect. Opt-Out. The Op-In approach will likely make advertising and data sale more effective and targeted. Of course, there will have to be incentives built in, but that’s the way it goes.

    As I said in a post a couple of days ago, the decisions Facebook makes today on privacy will determine if they become the world’s first trillion dollar company. No pressure there. Hee hee. Peace!