My head is swimming with ideas after having the pleasure of hearing Jesse Hirsh speak at a conference this week. I haven't felt this inspired in a long time. I want to get some of these out of my head and think about them -- they really are golden. xx
Ever stop to think about what the Internet is? It's something we've come to rely on, but never talk about. How do you use it? How does it use us? The seduction is powerful, no doubt about it. What does Google, FB, Twitter really want to be? And what is our role in all of this?
In his presentation, Jesse started talking about Web 3.0. --the personalization of content to the point of it being able to anticipate your needs ... which is pretty scary when I stop to think about what that world looks like. Only give me content I'm interested in. No wonder we've become so narcissistic! In fact he went on to say that as a society we are experiencing insularity to the extreme. NO! Isn't technology supposed to tear down barriers and expose us to a world of diverse cultures and ideas? How did we even get here?
It started with Web 2.0. I can now create content as easily as I consume it and that's powerful. But how is all my precious content being used? Is it being used against me? Data mining has been around for ages, but now I'm hearing more about sentiment analysis -- scrapping tweets to predict things like box office success or product market penetration. Marketers are starting to figure out that if the masses are talking about them anyway, then why not pay them to keep talking? Such is the rise of micro-advertising and micro-celebrities which are spokespeople you don't have to pay. Just throw a few freebies (like concert tickets) their way and they'll keep influencing their social networks. In fact there are even tools now that claim to identify who has clout. But we're a savvy bunch and know when we're being advertised to, right? Not so much, because now my online network of 'friends' are trying to sell me shit I don't need. Nice. According to Jesse, there's power in recommendations. We are relying on our networks more and more to influence our buying decisions. ... which is not going unnoticed by marketers. In fact you can read more about Twitter's resonance algorithm yourself -- advertisers pay to elevate tweets that support them.
Why do I feel like I'm being raped? I innocently use these tools on a daily basis to stay connected to my family and friends. But really, I'm just feeding the machine. My privacy is just another commodity. I could choose to leave, but it's too late. The seduction is powerful and I am already addicted to social media. So come and get me. The Internet is really nothing more than a myth.
*Sigh* This reminds me of some depressing conversations I've had at work about the fate of the world. When is the peak oil crisis going to turn off my PC for me and end this parasitic maleficent relationship for good? Please, take me back to a simple and wholesome world where we were too busy gathering our own food to have time to waste trading our privacy for commodities. K, now I'm being tangential (new word I've been dying to use). I'll share more deep thoughts from in a subsequent post.