I use social media a bit—likely a bit less than some of my contemporaries. I can’t say that I’m the most proficient at it, and I still labour to come up with tweets that I think people would be interested in, but I am trying to embrace this new platform as a meaningful way to communicate. Or at least another tool to add to the arsenal.
Mostly, I use it to engage in professional discussions, so apart from a few posts about the Ottawa Senators or pics of great meals I eat, I generally try to make people think about privacy-related issues.
But, I know from following others that social media is much more than just a professional vehicle to get thoughts across. Magazines, newspapers and news channels all use social media to push their content out well beyond the traditional subscriptions. I find it can be particularly entertaining if you follow Yahoo Sports or your favourite food and wine magazine.
I guess my point is that I’m trying to better experience social media for what it offers. But, at the same time, I am cognizant of the privacy trade-off I’m making by signing up. I know that Twitter and Facebook make their money by knowing me better and generating advertising revenue by selling what they know about me.
Obviously, by the dramatic growth of these companies, we know that others are jumping on board in droves. I wonder if everyone is aware of what they are paying for the “free” service? Are the hundreds of millions of people out there really that aware that their personal information equals money?
I think the entire issue surrounding the monetization of personal information is ripe for more in-depth discussion, beyond just some Ted Talks I’ve seen recently. What is your personal information worth? Wouldn’t it be an interesting thing to actually put a hard number to it? To better—and fully—appreciate what you are giving up and receiving?
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