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I am not Web 2.0 compliant

by VM Brasseur on April 26th, 2007

Web 2.0 is all about interactions. It’s AJAX-enabled websites and social networking. It’s MySpace and Zillow and pretty much all things Google. It’s also a lameass moniker, but that’s my opinion.

One of the many “hot” Web 2.0 sites is Digg. Find a story, submit it, then other users “digg” the story if they like this. This makes it bubble to the top of the stack if it gets “dugg” enough times. My participation in the site is limited to being a troll, scanning the headlines of stories which other people like but not giving any input myself. I was logged in to my Digg account today, scanning those headlines, when I saw this in the sidebar:

You haven’t added any friends yet. When you do, you’ll be able to track everything they Digg, submit, and comment!

And that’s when it really hit me that this whole Web 2.0 thing just ain’t working for me. Why exactly would I want to “track everything” that my friends do on Digg? And I suppose that means they can track my every move as well? I mean, that’s just downright creepy. Yet considering the incredible popularity of Digg and other social networking sites it seems I’m vastly outnumbered in my opinion.

A fair bit of my time is spent in the world of marketing*. So I look at sites like Digg, MySpace and FaceBook and I think, “Good god! The information! The demographics they must be gathering! That’s either a gold mine or an accident waiting to happen. Or both.” The same for Google, Yahoo! or any other website where you have an account or a profile of some sort. They know who you are. Who your friends are. What your (and their) interests are. Where you live. How often you access their website. What web browser you use. And on and on and on. Kinda disturbing, if you think about it. Using that data a savvy marketer can read and influence the minds of its target audience like they’re flipping a switch. Because as consumers we’re that easy to manipulate.

I choose to avoid participating in most of the “Web 2.0” world. Those, like Google, which actually provide some value to me and appear trustworthy may have my information. But most of them will have to learn to live without it. And I’ll learn to live without the “added value” gained by selling out my friends to the data junkies.

* “You’re soaking in it!”

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