Money Talks – April 30th, 2010
Why should you care about Facebook’s privacy settings? After all, you don’t use the service, or you only use it only occasionally, and just for fun. It can’t impact your life. Right? Right? Well, here’s the problem, anything that becomes enough of an economic phenomenon –from ATM’s to cell phones to e-mail addresses– eventually works its way into daily life, and at some point becomes an unavoidable way of doing business. Although I’m not as optimistic as blogger Jeff Jarvis that the way in which Facebook handles privacy could become a business model for identity protection, I do think he has a point. As technology evolves, we can’t really afford to ignore how our friends, family and colleagues are interacting online.
Again, what do you care about what your friends are doing online? Well, if Levi’s has anything to say about it, you should care. A lot. This week they launched a sophisticated new online shopping tool that gathers information about your (and your friends’) shopping habits, via (you guessed it) Facebook. Now it may seem that “” may initially be only of concern to teenagers, but once again, if this succeeds, who’s to say it won’t spread? And the more we all shop online the more retailers are likely to try and “help” us decide what we really want.
The Twitter world has been abuzz this week about a new report from Edison Research about –what else—Twitter usage. But, like 93% of folks, you probably haven’t actually read a tweet about it. Or any tweet. Ever. That’s because 87% of people polled had HEARD of the service, only 7% have actually ever participated in Twitter. What’s even more revealing, over half of people with an account have never even sent a single message. So basically, 3.5% of the population is making a LOT of noise. Which begs the question, are companies and public institutions bending their policies and building new programs and services for a tiny, but vocal, minority?
It’s risky to write about something with which you have no experience. But I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I’ve never felt Foursquare (the “location based social networking service”) was going to amount to anything. For one thing, it doesn’t make sense to me that everyone I know would truly to want to be apprised of my location all of the time. For another, since it’s a big favorite of Twitter users, we’re back to that teeny, tiny group of users, making a big noise over nothing much. Fortunately, you don’t have to rely on my unqualified opinion. Social media expert Peter Kim does a much better job of it when he writes “When Mayors Don’t Matter.”