I am not a social person. Really. I am not. At this moment only 16 people are following me on Twitter and I only recently set up my Facebook account, and I have at the moment of writing the amazing amount of 4 friends in there. In real life I would give my left kidney for 16 people who actually listened to what I had to say during a meeting, and having 4 really good friends that know a lot about me. But in my online life it seems that that is not a lot. I need to have a 1,000+ friends on facebook and 30,000+ listeners on Twitter. I also want to have at least a gazillion people reading this blog…
…and I want all of them to really follow me and know me and know what I am writing about.
Pfffff. Who am I kidding, and who is everyone kidding? I started my facebook account (btw, you can befriend me at www.facebook.com/pzuidema ) because for my personal marketing reasons for my online companies, it is a good tool to get in contact with people. But I still feel uncomfortable, the guy on prom night, standing in the corner in the dark. I actually had this account already in the past, with a whole lot of 1 friend who I did not know at all.
Still, I do see the importance of social networks, but more the professional ones or focused in one area; ModelMayhem for photography (www.modelmayhem.com/cantanopy) and LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/pzuidema) and I make well use of them. But giant ‘everything goes’ social networks are not really the thing I feel comfortable in. That does not make them bad in my opinion, not even when they collect personal information. If you want to blurt something out to the world, you also need to know the consequences, and one of them might be that people remember what you have said or done.
It is like getting drunk at an office party, taking a tattoo measuring 1′ by 10″ with your lovers name printed in it, or thinking having your boyfriend at 18 taking some explicit nude pictures of you when are in the heat of the moment. It willcome back to haunt you at one moment or the other. That is in real live, but that is also online. Worse, the online company does not know you personally and will not judge you, they just want to earn a buck. It is real life you need to worry about. It is all about responsible behavior.
There is one very important thing that a company dabbling with personal information should know; that you will never know your visitors/clients and on the other hand, you do not want to know them. Storing all that information not only is too much information than you will ever be able to use, and you do not want to know so many people with all their information. It is too costly, but also too risky. Look at Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Microsoft… the lawsuits that they get cost usually more than what they gain with such specialized private information. And as I have written in an earlier post; how do you know it is valuable information? People who are filthy rich may have the poorest credit scores, who says that the guy online is not a woman, and that he is really earning $150,000+ a year and lives in Connecticut? You don’t, and you will never know.
It is not important. Just like my requested 1,000 facebook friends. I have four now, and I also know them in real life and yes, I really can tell you they are my real friends. I don’t know everything about them, their credit scores, and what they do online (except being on Facebook), and I don’t need to know. I know they’re there.