“It’s people. Soylent Green is made out of people. They’re making our food out of people. Next thing they’ll be breeding us like cattle for food. You’ve gotta tell them. You’ve gotta tell them!” Soylent Green – 1973
So what is the real commodity of social media? It’s people. You and me, and all our friends. Period.
Over the past few weeks, this as really started to steam roller. Let’s take a look at a few examples:
- Fake Steve Jobs (Real Dan Lyons) slams NY Times for their failure to report both sides of Zynga/Farmville
- Jason Calacanis lashes out at Facebook’s slimy new “privacy” settings which in most cases remove all privacy in his post “Is Facebook unethical, cluelessor unlucky?“
- The ACLU proves that Facebook Quizzes bypass all privacy settings for you AND YOUR FRIENDS *with tacit approval from Facebook*
- Google CEO Eric Schmidt opines “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place, but if you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines including Google do retain this information for some time, and it’s important, for example that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act.”
Read all the links then think about it. Basically the fine folks at Facebook, Google, etc. are selling us, and not even to the highest bidder. They’re selling us to any bidder that comes down the pike.
For the record, if you use ANY Facebook Apps, like Farmville or do Facebook quizzes, I consider it mandatory for you to take the ACLU quiz.
I’ve made the decision a few years ago to leave somewhat transparently on the web, but most of you actually believe you have some level of privacy. That level of privacy is, unfortunately, illusory.
Expect this to become a huge fight in the coming year. It won’t go away, and I suspect few of you will accept such cavalier attitudes towards your privacy.