Thursday, February 5, 2009

What line? Cloud productivity = Digital DNA

Digital DNA focused marketing.

First some history...

What line exist between your online life and your real life? Think for a minute about the online apps you use and the social networks you visit. Do you blog? Do you share photos, maybe use a popular free online email service? Ever share some docs or photos?

Do you draw a line in the sand, or did you when you first started using the web as something more than a porn or research tool?

Around the time that Google became a verb, when myspace took down friendster (does anyone use that anymore?) When MSN messenger introduced status updates my line became so blurred it didn't really exist anymore. I never really said to myself, "OK, I"m Fred in real life, and online I'm thefredelement." Things like that just kind of naturally happened, depending on what site I was on or what I was doing, I'd use real info, or more of an online persona.

Fast forward to 2009.

Now, my friends both in RL (real life, for those of you who weren't around during the AOL revolution) and online know me as both Fred, and thefredelement. I'm OK with that to a point, or I was ok with that. Now that Google Latitude is here and is garnering more famous blogger recogniztion upon it's release, well - this seems a bit too close to home. Long gone are the days of when would just tell you the closest place to your house to get 24hour pizza deliveries. (and in doing so didn't ask for your email address and probably didn't log your IP, forget about any type of analytics past an access log file)

Now, you can login to your google account and see where your friends are physically.

I don't think I'm the only one who thinks that is a little scary.

Not so new is the social networking sites that have become common pastime for millions. (What's the longest you've gone without getting a facebook update, myspace message or a message from twitter?) I'm sure you've noticed the bombardment of advertisement on your favorite sites, contextual advertising and social networking is nothing new (relatively speaking), but where does any amount of privacy kick in?

Really it's up to you, how you choose to present yourself online, in both a professional and personal image. In some ways it's as simple as an old school radio, don't want to hear it? Change the channel or turn it off. The choice isn't so black and white anymore, more and more your job will require you to have some online type of presence, not to mention the social norm of being online - everything from sending Grandma pictures from Christmas to IMing that hottie you met at the bar. Forget leaving a digital fingerprint of what you do the web, you're now being marketed down to your DNA.

Google, and the Google copycats. Google is at the forefront of new and cool and online. Google is a verb and a digital way of life. Sure as I write this on a blogspot blog, signed in with my gmail account. Google is also making money hand over fist. Thanks to you! (and me) For sure we'd be less productive without Google leading the way with so many different productivity tools. Google leverages new technology (from software development to mobile computing) to drive paid for clicks. It's simple and sweet and at the heart of 21st century capitalism. So what's my gripe?

Google, has hoarded tons of data! Don't like it? Don't use it - easy enough, almost, that's getting harder and harder to do. I use a Google service at least 20 times a day on an average. It sure does make life easier, can you imagine life without email? Sure, you say you stay away from Google, but do you click on a Google context ad while visiting a web site? I'm not singling out Google here, though it sounds like it - to Google's credit, Google is the brightest star for this example.

So with Google latitude, plus Google analytic data of ad's you maybe clicked on, sites you visited, the data storage center that is gmail, picasa, youtube/google video, google docs, not to mention all the Google searches - are we that far from a Google employee walking up to you on the street with a laptop showing you a list of web sites you probably would be interested in? Sarcasm aside, who knows what Google is doing with that data, imagine the ability they have to create a "user profile" on their end? They could probably extrapolate data to a point of averaging out your day, if you're on from work or home, what tv shows you watch (coming from me, the guy who made the "What's on your TiVO/DVR" facebook group), maybe even in some cases what you had for dinner! (There is a google analytic tag on Twitter fyi, that's not saying much, but still with off site hosted javascript you can shove anything in there, if you wanted).

I'm not even saying this a bad thing, this type of marketing can only help our flailing economy, my point is I'm 28 years old now, I started out 14 years ago with a PacBell 486 running AOL and things have evolved in a way where almost everything is "big brother" based.

Are you the same person online as you are in real life? Do you jump around between facebook, myspace, twitter, youtube with a Google toolbar telling you when you have new mail?

In real life, you don't have to really do anything for anyone, sure you may be captured on video 100 times a day as you go about your life. But you only truly give up your privacy at your consent or when the boys in blue get a warrant. Why? Cause your privacy is protected in the U. S. of A. Who is looking after your digital DNA? You are!

Take a breath and just be aware of the information you put out there on a daily basis.

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