Saturday, June 22, 2013

Is Your Social Media a Platform or Just another Tracking Tool?

A couple of weeks ago the news hit the fan. NSA has been tracking our emails. Or, so they said. Everyone became a little paranoid about what else was being tracked. Then today, I pick up the paper and read, "Facebook says a bug in its system caused 6 million users' contact information to be inadvertently exposed."

This is nothing new, remember the Hoover files?  If you don't, one of my all time favorite books, Robert Ludlum's,  The Chancellor Manuscriptcan fill you in.  It is one of his old books, but if you can find a copy, it is well worth the read. I'm not here to get into a political discussion, spying by our government has been around a long time. I understand the argument - safety versus liberty, there in lies the rub.

As writers, we've all been encouraged to build and engage in a healthy social network. Open up a Twitter account, an Author Facebook Page, join LinkedIn, Pinterest, start a Blog, and connect on a regular basis. The purpose, of course, is to exchange ideas, knowledge, and network with others. The more name recognition you have and people you know in the industry, the more mentors available to you. Writers of all genres, beta readers, editors, critique and writing groups, all are a part of the social media network to assist writers at all levels to improve their craft. Or, so they say.

For me, I find all social media to be time eating suckers. I sit down planning to spend fifteen minutes and waste a morning. True, I've met some  talented people and made great connections when I have the time, but Twitter will eat your soul. And Facebook? I'm not sure what has happened to that site. Lately, all I see are pictures of food, which make me hungry, pictures of pets, or other stupid things.  I receive more requests from people asking for endorsements on LinkedIn than you can shake a stick at, and what the hell is candy crush? I don't  have a clue.

However, it isn't the NSA you need to worry about. We've all had a hand in this.

Technology is creating the surveillance state 

By John R. Quain Personal Tech Published June 19, 2013

Technology via social media, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Google, has lured us down the path as easily as the Pied Piper led children. We thought it was cool Google maps could show us a location, by satellite, right down to the house, until we learned it was our house, and Google was supplying the government with information, along with Verizon and the smart phones we can't live without. Some call it security others marketing.

With every click of your  button the technology you love track and register information about your habits, likes and dislikes, tracking online orders,  Facebook, third party, and Apple Apps. The Kindle books you download and read, including the words you highlight are captured, categorized, and tailored to market and advertise specifically to you. Their aim is to influence the way you shop, think, sway social values, and, yes vote. Think subliminal advertising on steroids.

They call it marketing, developing a platform and teach you how through  SEO, keywords, Google analytics, etc. to reach the biggest audience. It sounds as if we may all have a bigger audience than we realized. 

I didn't like mama looking over my shoulder when I was growing up either. The least they can do is leave a comment. I don't know about you, but I'm almost ready to go back to hardback books, paper billing, and old-fashioned pen and paper.  What about you?

What do you think?
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