In 2008 I was involved in a series of debates about the possible demise of privacy in the digital age. I believe that in 2011 we are now at that point.
Some high level indicators might help to explain:
- Since 2008, leaks from government and organisations have not ceased, they have multiplied; Wikileaks is now making an industry from this phenomenon.
- Tagging of our personal information on social media sites is growing exponentially. This is done without our express permission.
- Current legislation prioritises data ownership over personal privacy. Although there are an increasing number of rules about how business may use their data, the legal consensus persists that businesses own the data that they host in their databases. In 2011 you have no right to remove personal information from a database, therefore you cannot predict who will be using it next.
The Impact Of Digital First Impressions
We now live in a world where a simple Google search delivers our first impressions of other people. We routinely search for details about new acquaintances; to check out their story and to see what others are saying about them. Most of us do this, but we are not yet influencing what others will find when they search for us. To ensure that we make a great first impression we need to proactively manage our own online personal information.
Data mining and analysis techniques have introduced the possibility of creating an in-depth first impression. A more complex view of each of us. Personal information is routinely purchased, harvested and combined to create detailed personal profiles. This is called Social Profiling and businesses are already being created to help us manage this. (e.g. see ReputationDefender.com).
These more complex profiles represent a digital personality. They are being used to make decisions about us.
Is It A Threat Or An Opportunity?
We are at a stage where most of us are beginning to sense that this is happening. The popular reaction is one of fear for our privacy, but unlike many commentators, I do not perceive this phenomenon as a wholly negative development. There are simple strategies you can follow and there are easy to use tools that can shape Your Digital Personality to your advantage. In my view the longer term advantage outweighs the possible shorter term risk.
Your Digital Personality is a book that explains how this situation has developed, why you should be taking notice and how you can benefit by proactively managing your own digital personality.
I hope that you will be interested.
Have a great week.
Author – Your Digital Personality