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Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

The Myth of Privacy 2.0

May 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Recent headlines around privacy, super injunctions and scandals involving celebrities, sports stars and bankers make it seem like something new and dangerous has appeared out of the ether, when in fact it is nothing other than the usual, albeit grossly exaggerated, effect of disruptive technologies and their use /  abuse, laced with a titillating hint of salacious gossip fodder. The rest is history, or not.

 

Internet technologies and social media applications like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have made it child’s play for anyone to create instantaneous headline / publicity, or what I call a “flash buzz”, over almost any topic, event or person. There is no gainsaying the fact that social media has established itself as a bonafide media channel through which people can get the fastest and most direct access to world events, and to each other. But this is only just the beginning, if you consider the mountains of so called big data being fed each and every second by these, and other sources of information.

Once upon a time news information trickled down through well established but rather narrow media channels (i.e. news print, Radio and TV), but that trickle has become a fast moving stream, full of all any kind of debris (i.e. meaningless chatter) and valuable nuggets of information about you, your friends (or followers, fans, contacts etc.) and any number of other people. When combined with other Internet applications, such as the World Wide Web and a good search engine, no topic is out of reach for an intrepid seeker. So where does this leave us? What will happen to the existing media / information channels; will they be swallowed up by the deluge of information and get lost in the remarkably high noise-to-signal ratio? Will established media channels, businesses and industry go the way of the music industry?

I think not, because thankfully, there is still something to be said for the perceived authority of the printed word, and many people will still probably take the words on a printed sheet over words on a screen. Also, despite the wow factor of a new information source / channel offered by social media applications, it is still just that; only another source or channel for information. They are not mutually exclusive, and in fact people even use multiple information channels simultaneously. But what has this got to do with privacy?

Why, everything. The increasing trend for easily accessible data, information and knowledge streams means that sooner or later, and to varying degrees of completeness and accuracy, your so called private information will become available online, if it is not already out there. But what does this mean for ordinary individuals that go about minding their own business? Not much, I imagine, but for those with something to hide, or protect (in good cause or not), this can be a very real problem as the recent controversy over super injunctions in the UK will attest. Furthermore, for enterprises that make it a key activity to interact and deal directly with customers, this can be a gold mine (or just a plain minefield) to be navigated and exploited with extreme care as significant legal battles will likely continue to be fought over this particular topic.

In any case, one thing that seemingly escapes attention in the increasingly episodic furore over privacy is that the upcoming generation of Internet savvy digital natives may not see privacy in the same light our current generation of digital immigrants do. If social media was the norm at the time of your birth, or before, then it may be fair to ask just what the fuss is all about.

Twitter for Business, or is it. Really?

September 28, 2009 Leave a comment

Last Wednesday, I attended an excellent BCSNLB event on “Twitter for Business”, and whilst it was bothengaging and well attended (indeed over-subscribed), I am still not convinced that Twitter has a legitimate place in business – for the very simple reason that people are still talking (or trying to convince each other) about it.

There is a school of thought that evangelism can be misplaced; especially if it is stating the obvious and preaching to the choir (e.g. that social networking applications can be beneficial for business 2.0). But if this is the case for Twitter then why does it appear to be taking so long to gain traction with businesses, and thus necessitating a seemingly endless round of “gee whiz, look-what-you-can-do-with-Twitter” brand of discovangelism (SIC). Ok, so there is Dell and a few other examples of the successful application of Twitter, but does that make it the ubiquitous Web2.0 business application that it is so often positioned? Hmmph!

Granted that just like mobile’s SMS, Twitter is a phenomenal tool for exchanging bite-size information and a facilitator of inter-personal interaction with a global community of users (much like the 300M strong FaceBook). All these technologies are being used by businesses as additional, personalised channels for marketing and customer engagement. However, that does not necessarily make Twitter the must-have requirement for businesses wanting to engage with potential customers.

Perhaps I am just being impatient and this will come to pass in time, as in the innovative use of SMS for mobile money, but it would be nice see some more tangible evidence fast. I just remember dot.com bubbles, irrational exuberance, and other more recent nasties. Oh dear, here we go again…

Note: The above is just a personal opinion, and not intended in any way to detract from the excellent event or brilliant speakers / enlightened Twitterati, i.e. Mario Menti (@mario); Judith Lewis (@judithlewis) and Guy Stephens (@guyatcarphone)

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Note: This post was previously published on my BCS DRM Blog, where you can find the original post, and reader comments, in the archives.