Saturday, 26 March 2011

Privacy on the web

What is the cost we pay for our online activity? Are the social media platforms we use really free? The false sense of privacy on the web impels us to share our views, thoughts and feelings with the world. But how do corporations and the business make profit from people’s increased social media presence?

When we create our social media profiles we share our details which are then used by the business to send us marketing messages that suit our interests. As social media has become an integrated and important part of our lives these targeted messages are likely to capture our attention and influence our choice of services and products. We no longer need to spend hours searching for books that might be interesting to us - the Amazon recommendation system does this for us. Our social media activity is used to persuade customers to buy the recommended book because people tend to believe that if many users with the same interests liked a product, they are going to like it too. Without our knowledge and consent we become endorses of the message and we help companies sell their products. This is just one of the many examples that could be given.

Social media presents many opportunities to the companies to direct their advertising and marketing messages at a very specific audience. The information about the audience sex, age, area, interests, hobbies and work allow them to promote a product to the right customers which save them a lot of money on advertising in traditional media. That is why Facebook (or any other social media platform) database is priceless for the big corporations.
No matter how useful and fascinating social media is everybody should bear in mind that it has a dark side. We pay a price for our addiction to the social media platforms by voluntary making valuable information about ourselves available to the companies who wish to reach us.

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