A recent New York Times article about four NYU students looking to build a new open source social network got us thinking.
The definition of privacy is changing in the age of social networking. It used to be about controlling who has access to information about you, and it still does in many ways, but more and more it seems to be about who is amassing huge amounts of information about lots of people, and how they are making money off of it.
We’re not asking “who is Facebook-stalking us” as much as we’re asking “what the hell are Facebook and Google doing with all that stuff they know about us.” Privacy is no longer about secrecy, it’s about ownership and profit.
I know intellectually that Google is not “free,” that everytime I conduct a search I am giving them an ounce of my mental flesh that they, in turn, monetize. But I guess it’s worth it to me—a fair exchange.
But not everyone agrees, apparently. Just as previous generations ranted about the evils of advertising yet were perfectly happy to consume the media it paid for, there is a new generation that seeks to find the next great free lunch.
Claudine Cheever is Chief Strategy Officer at Saatchi & Saatchi New York.
Image source: Copenhagen Campus Connection