It seems everyday a new social networking site is born. What was once a practical and enjoyable way to keep in contact with your family and friends has now really become just a business and an advertising market that is less and less fun by the day. All the big Internet players are now making their intentions clear. They don’t want last weekend’s photos of your kid’s birthday party. They want you as an advertising consumer in a market that is forecast to be worth $38 billion in 4 years.
From the big guns like Facebook, Goggle and Twitter all the way down to niche sites such as Linkedin and Goodreads for books, it’s all about the advertising buck. All of them eagerly tracking you and your data to be able to ‘profile’ you for their advertisers. It’s logical really as newspaper and television decline as our choice of information and entertainment, the ads have to find a new home. The big difference though, is that newspapers and television never had the tracking tools available to them as social networking providers do.
It may come as a surprise to some, but even for me as a humble little blogger, it is possible for me to access an inordinate amount of demographic data. Of course I don’t have anywhere near the sophisticated tracking tools of the big guys, so the data I receive is quite harmless. But just think about these huge companies now that are rolling out their social networking sites who have your personal information recorded. Of course, name and address, telephone numbers and your Internet browsing history, but what about credit card details, date of birth and every single word you’ve ever entered on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter? Easy for them to hit your sweet spot with advertising tailor made for you.
It’s a little disconcerting to think that they probably know more about you than your mother.