The New Currency: it’s all “ADing” up

online privacyWe all learn the saying, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Yet, when it comes to the Internet and social media we don’t want it to be true. Most social sites are “free” right? After all, I don’t whip out my credit card every time I want to use Facebook, Linkedin, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc….  While we may not be taking out our credit card every time we surf the social scene, we are all giving up something just as valuable, our personal information.

News about how our information is being used by the websites we frequent continues to surface. From Instagram’s announcement and then retraction of new Terms of Service that would allow them to sell your personal photos to advertisers, to Google’s greed for data and the selling of your data to compete with Facebook, it’s easy to see that WE are the currency of choice.


So what?

Should we care that advertisers have our information? I would argue yes. Not just that advertisers have your information down to what bra size you wear, but the fact that it’s not going to stop at advertisers. Information is already prevalent and freely available online. If you’ve ever heard Sam Richter speak, you know it doesn’t take a genius to find out everything about you, sometimes right down to your credit card number — in seconds, for free, from your computer. If we don’t pay closer attention to what we put online, how it’s used and how to prevent it from being misused, it may be too late by the time we see the big picture.


But, I’m a marketer/advertiser

I admit, I actually LIKE targeted advertising. If you must advertise, show me something I might be interested in instead of irrelevant ads. That being said, I want to have the choice to ASK for targeted advertising. I don’t want my information sold and, believe it or not, I don’t need to tell the world about everything I am doing, buying or saying online (Google are you reading this?). I mention Google because you may have noticed that you can’t write a review, use an app, etc. within the Google ecosystem without being forced to tell your Circles everything!

“Sam Ford, a 26-year-old Navy petty officer, says he signed up for Google+ on his smartphone because it would let him automatically upload new photos to a Google+ folder—one that he kept private. Later, he says, he was surprised to see that his Google+ profile page—which includes his name—was tied to a software review that he wrote recently on the Google Play online store.”


What can we do?

The alarming part is that unless you pull the plug on your online presence, it’s nearly impossible to avoid giving up your information. I would venture to guess that most of you still want to buy online. You want to communicate with others via social networks. You want friends, family and business associates to find you (most of the time). However, in most, if not all cases, you can’t pay to stay private. You can’t write your own terms of service. So what can you do?

While one person may not be able to stop the avalanche that is already falling, maybe the power of many can. I believe awareness and crowdsourcing the issue could be two potential solutions to this increasing problem. What do you think?

Now that you know more, what will you do?

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About Karin Khuhro

Karin Khuhro is a Digital Marketing Strategist, Speaker and Copywriter. As the owner of Strategy E-ssentials she works with other savvy marketers, digital specialists and business leaders to bring knowledge, know-how and solutions to small and medium sized businesses. Connect with Karin on Google+ or Linkedin.