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While we were sleeping -- the kingdom of our data was lost

I quit Facebook and life, such as it was, went on.  I quit because its business tactics were becoming ever so more UnFriendly-like -- from experiments with the product of us to selling your browsing history to selling your facial profile to advertisers. Then over to tracking your TV-watching habits and listening to voices on your mobile device, Facebook will soon opt into your health information -- thus forcing more privacy Opt-Outs. So time without Facebook slowly passed, then the 14-day post-deletion period -- are you sure, sure, sure? You can still re-activate! -- that grace period came and quietly went. No one, myself included, noticed my disappearance on that day. I did not request my archive of 7+ years of posts, I did not write down a list of those 300 or so folks that I had 'friended' over the years, apparently an average number for all users, and I did not note the businesses that had requested that I Like them. Without a glance back, I left all those pictures of just-cooked or about-to-be-eaten meals, graduation pictures of people I no longer knew (and thus probably don't really Like all that much), timelines, new feeds, and even groups, including alumni of gone companies from my many gone jobs. But I am not the only one departing -- looks like some younger people are getting out too.

Outside the US, folks really Like and use Facebook. The Facebook Company Info page is revealing -- first shock and awe at the 1.35 billion monthly users, compared to the 864 million daily users. But consider that 82.2 percent of the active daily users are outside of the US. That explains the location of its ad offices. Maybe the folks in the US are a bit nervous -- now that Privacy has Died. And as the new Pew report revealed, Public Perceptions of Privacy and Security in the post-Snowden era reveal some privacy concerns. Reflect on the neutrality of the Pew title versus the title of the Wall Street Journal article: US Adults Feel They are Losing Control of Their Data. I doubt if this has much to do with Mr. Snowden. The Journal sums up the survey -- two-thirds are (FINALLY) worried about sharing private data via chat and instant messaging. Ironically, just as 41% of Americans have cut the cord to their landlines, the Pew study responders think a landline is the most secure medium for sharing information. -- And social media -- the least.

Our data, ourselves, lost through convenience logins and inattention.  Which is worse: lost data at Target and Home Depot or NSA data collection or Gmail account hijacking or maybe Wells Fargo or AT&T data breaches? They're all BAD. We have lost control of our data and privacy. And institutions that we've trusted turned out to mismanage our data. They inadvertently helped criminals run off with our credit card information which is linked to Social Security Numbers, our primary identifier for just about everything. Up next? Our cars will soon know as much about us as our phones do -- listening, sensing, and providing feedback to and about us.  As we have regularly posted, shared, connected and LinkedIn, our data has become ever more valuable. Internet advertising revenue has exceeded revenue from television advertising. After finally focusing on the mobile user world, Facebook has boosted its mobile ad revenue dramatically.  And ever more websites we enter have connected to Facebook's application interface -- helpfully asking us -- SIGN IN WITH FACEBOOK (so that contacts can be acquired by that site) or perhaps just SIGN IN?  It might be better for us in the long run - let's pick. Just SIGN IN.

What does this mean for encouraging the offline to be online?  Despite the growing risks and problems, older adults who are not comfortable with technology must still move online or rely on a proxy -- most of what they need has already migrated there and away from paper. Seniors who discover social networks and Internet tools find their new access both exciting and soon essential. But organizations that help those older adults go online must increasingly focus on how to be a watchful online citizen -- watching for online scams, email hijacking, or malware. For the newly online, service providers and trainers must emphasize how important it is that their devices be kept up to date.  New tech users must learn to notice problems immediately and how to get them fixed. Good training matters --  like OATS in New York and multiple sources in San Francisco, or AARP TEK in Illinois.

Comments

Laurie, I applaud you for dropping Facebook & look forward to when I can do the same, although it won't happen until after I sell my business. The manipulation across most social media platforms is crazy & worse, as they are now pushing people to create their content ... but only for their gains, not for us.

I am pleased -- I have gone through the grieving phase (what food and trips are folks posting, what's up with those people I worked with 10+ years ago?)  But even that has passed.

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