You cannot help to notice that privacy is fast becoming one of the hottest subjects in town. Driven, in part, by the social networking revolution every Tom, Dick and Harry are throwing great new applications at us such as Facebook, Gowalla, Google Me (?) with the aim of capturing a large slice of our social activity. All of these are freebies with no easy “pay” model and after Friends Reunited pissed away market leadership in the UK by charging a fiver a year no-one is keen to go straight to a charging model. The investors in these new applications will want to turn them into cash hoovers at some point so are trying all sorts of mechanisms and ideas out, mostly revolving around behavioural advertising.
So where does that leave us? We can commit Facebook suicide and we can switch off GPS on our iPhones but surely that just leaves us out in the cold. We will need these tools and applications to be able to communicate with our friends and family in the near future. Some argue that this is a generational thing and will require the next generation to grow up into consumers before it really makes itself felt but that is plain bollocks. Many of the ideas may gain early adoption by the younger people but they soon teach their parents, mentors and anyone else who has a need to connect with the youth and once middle-aged groups of women are “checking in” at the WI using Gowalla then the game is well and truly up. As an aside did you know that 28% of Facebook’s users are older than 34, their fastest-growing demographic.
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