As more and more corporations and governments collect and analyze ever increasing amounts of data about our lives and our activities, it’s appealing to react by creating more privacy-related legislation or arrangements that pay individuals for use of their personal data sets. Instead, this article by Evgeny Morozov (the author of The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom) suggests that what is needed is a civic-minded response, because democracy is at risk.
A sore point for many as it pertains to the big data phenomenon is the fact that the notion of privacy is pretty much just that… a notion. We no longer have any control over our personal data that is aggregated and archived whenever we fill out online forms, post our pics on the web, chat with friends or tweet updates on our lives. Enter Snapchat; a mobile phone app that allows you to send messages and photos that disappear quickly into the ‘ether’. I wonder if there’s a sustainable business model for an application like this, especially given the present Internet culture?
I think it is fair to say that social networks have become a lot less friendlier in recent times. It was inevitable that social media giants would abolish the open API’s (application program interfaces) that allowed their users to share content across network. This move is seen as necessary for these companies to increasingly monetize their ads and promoted tweets and posts. But while the walled garden approach by Facebook, Twitter and other networks makes perfect business sense, it largely removes the social aspect of their platforms.
The outcome is a splintered ecosystem; one where the ability to communicate with the entire social media landscape at once has been nullified. One where the bridging of gaps between users and companies, and the creation of dynamic and diverse interactions, no longer exists.
However, as the tensions between social media networks have flared up, a parallel industry has emerged. Disgruntled users and organizations are turning to social media management systems, software tools that provide unfettered access to all the large social networks from a single interface (one such company is HootSuite). At the linked URL, HootSuite illustrates the social media wars by transforming Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest and Tumblr in Game of Thrones houses. Quite entertaining!