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How Much Personal Information Are You Sharing Online?

02 Apr

In my online profiles, I tell the world I like Paul McCartney and Rush. No—not the political commentator. Rather, the Canadian progressive rock band composed of Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart. This information has helped connect me with others who are fans of Paul McCartney and of Rush. It helps people see that I have a life. It has helped establish connections. I realize some folks may not like Paul McCartney or Rush, but I feel the odds of that turning away a potential friend or customer are slim compared to someone saying, “Oh, Mark likes Paul McCartney and Rush too…I want to connect with him.” This is information I am comfortable sharing with the world.

Sharing helps me prove I have a personal life. In addition to telling the world I like Paul McCartney and Rush, I am on the record as an active triathlete. This helps connect me with other triathletes, swimmers, bicyclists, and runners. I am also fairly confident that telling the world I swim, bike, and run for fun will not turn away potential friends and customers. Sharing this information has helped establish connections.

Sharing touches a sensitive nerve with some folks. They share information and then wonder why they receive advertising targeted at them. My Facebook page had ads for Paul McCartney’s and Rush’s 2010 summer tours. The promoters of these tours did a good job creating Facebook ads and then targeting them at Facebook users who shared that they were fans of Paul McCartney and of Rush. Although I did not attend shows by either of these acts last summer, I did appreciate learning that they were still active. I am in the target market for these tours’ promoters, and am perfectly happy being in that group.

The same holds true for triathlon vendors. Here you can find bicycle and shoe manufacturers, race organizers, and health food promoters. I saw their ads, too, at Facebook. They followed the same strategy that the promoters of Paul McCartney’s and Rush’s tours followed: they targeted Facebook users. The profile information I shared put me in their target market.

Advertising is a fact of life. The information you share online helps advertisers target you for whatever they are selling. Targeted advertising helps Facebook remain a free service. Facebook is a business too. The folks who work there like keeping a roof over their heads, food on the table, and cash in the wallet.

You have to decide your level of comfort with privacy versus sharing. Everybody deserves to keep some parts of their lives private. I am more private than most. You must also understand that sharing helps establish connections both on the personal front and the business front.

***

Mark Anthony Germanos is the President of Cameron Park Computer Services, a premier Sacramento IT company providing IT services, IT solutions and IT support. Cameron Park Computer Services moves clients to the Cloud. “The Cloud is among the best IT solutions we’ve ever offered,” says Germanos, “I’ve been in the IT service and IT support business since 1992. When you run your business in the Cloud, your data is always available, available from anywhere and the cost is usually less. Does your IT company offer IT services, IT support and CloudU certified staff that can provide today’s IT solutions at affordable prices”? Cameron Park Computer Services does.

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