Thursday, July 2, 2009

So what?

Got my issue of the latest Adobo. One of the articles was about the online fracas that came out of the Ako Mismo campaign.

The article highlighted the e-mail sent by one such Jamie Garchitorena that warned users about the personal information being collected by Smart that may / will be sold and used during the May 2010 Elections.

Somebody forwarded the e-mail to me when Ako Mismo launched a few months ago. And while I was happy about the effort he took to read and share the fine, fine print - which is, you have to admit, a little shady - I couldn't quite understand the big deal.

After all, we give out so much information about ourselves already - Facebook knows who we are in a relationship with, where we study, live, work, our Top 5 TV shows, how fast we type, who thinks we are the "Most Likely To Have Imaginary Friends", where we have travelled, where we dream of travelling and whether or not Mang Ado is my Homeboy! Google knows what blogs I read everyday, what secrets my best friends are revealing to me via email, what documents and spreadsheets I'm working on via GoogleDocs. Yahoo knows who all of my friends are, and which of them I actually chat with on a daily basis. Twitter and Plurk know what I'm doing, thinking, wishing, wondering, sharing right now! Would you tell anybody your Facebook, Twitter and Plurk passwords? Some aggregator sites like Quub, Ping, Twitdeck know all of my passwords! Nutshell Mail will even take on my microblogs and e-mail accounts!

You think Flickr isn't paying attention to the kinds of photos that get uploaded most, that isn't checking who is listening to which aritst and which bands are getting the most exposure, that CNN and Inquirer aren't checking what stories are the top viewed?ts

And in case we oursleves are curious about what other people are doing... well there's always Spock! (Hope the site isn't offline anymore.)

We hardly pay attention to the digital fingerprints we leave all over the Net but every move we make is trackable by someone, somewhere. And every brand, website, media channel is only happy to take advantage.

But it isn't all bad. Amazon wouldn't be nearly as relevant to me if it didn't recommend books, CDs, DVDs I might like by checking what other items I had previously searched for. And what would 2009 be if not for Twitter, which dutifully documents what so many of us are doing, thinking, find interesting, following - and makes this data available to the world, real time!

Seeing the article again on Ako Mismo only brought to mind one of my favorite local websites, - his site has a photo promo and just to read the mechanics he asks you to register with name, email address, contact details, etc! Now that's terrible.

All we can do is be careful. We can't help but leave traces of ourselves all over the web... but that's also what makes now different from any other time in history - when else have we been able to put our fingers on the pulse of the world? You have to admit, it is kind of amazing.

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