TANSTAAFL*: Our Personal Data is Valuable

*TANSTAAFL :”There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch

A few months ago, I participated in a discussion with a friend, who was telling us that millennials are more likely to share  who they are and what they like through social platforms but in exchange are expecting brands and businesses to leverage this information to do business with them while Gen X tended a bit more cautious on what data they published.

I must admit, I ‘ve been through Facebook’s privacy settings on many occasions and it took me a while before I started using it (being especially hesitant with the external apps that connected to facebook) so I felt completely in line with what my friend was talking about.

One topic that has caught everyones attention, the recent Facebook – Cambridge ordeal.

Beyond a discussion around what Facebook did or didn’t do, … it is important to note that many people believe that internet companies like Facebook provide their services for free.Imagen PNG

TANSTAAFL* and people need to understand that. It’s not free, it’s all about the data and it’s value.

Yes, we can argue that companies and internet services need to be a little more upfront and straight with us about how they intend to use our data (I will talk about GDPR which should help us with that in my next post) but in general,  we need to understand what value do we get from the service provider and what value do they get from our data. 

I hope an incident such as this (where Gen Xers get to say “we told you so…” to millennials) will increase the value consumers in general place on their personal data as well as their expectations of how the companies they interact with behave with it.

I want to share one more example, when there is a relatively good crowd at the soccer stadium, the cell towers get saturated and you can’t use your phone.  Recently they installed a wifi network which allows you to access (For Free!!!) during the game and chat, post, share, upload and download…. great right….

Let me share with you a screenshot of the login screen… This application can: read tweets from my account… ok, can see who I follow and follow new people (huh!) can update my profile (huh!) and the last one…. CAN PUBLISH TWEETS FOR ME…. (WHAT?)

IMG_0188I also looked at the facebook login screen but it was not clear what I was giving them permission to do before I had to input my password …

As I mentioned before, TANSTAFL.

Enjoy the services provided by internet companies but be aware that TANSTAAFL. Value your personal data, and make sure those you share it with do too.

In my next post I will talk about the other side of the moon. With ever growing competition, companies have been mining data to help them personalize their offering to increase its value to customers (in some cases to the point of becoming freakish).

We’ll talk about new regulation coming online in Europe this month that aims to put the consumer back in the driver seat of his own data.  GDPR is here, well at least there in Europe.

Talk to you soon.









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