Orion Panel – Search, Privacy, and the Community in the Digital Age

Dec 3, 2007 - 1:28 pm 0 by
Filed Under SES Chicago 2007

Moderated by two of the SEW Kevins – Ryan and Heisler. Ryan does the introduction and welcomes everybody to balmy Chicago. Speakers will be Allan Chapell of Chapell and Associates; Jack Myers of jackmyers.com; Pauline Ores from IBM.

Kevin Ryan said he thought he would change it up a little, this being his first SES fully in-charge. They created a pop culture video mash about search…very funny South Park cut about MySpace pages, and some other good ones. (hopefully they will share this video mash at SEW blog soon). Ryan then points out the multiple references to Google maps as well as various search engines. So what is the missing piece of the equation when it comes to ensuring that your private information within various community sites remains private? Jack explains that many communities are moving towards self-policing and self regulating.

The panelists talked about both the recent Facebook issue with its “beacon” option which essentially broadcasts personal content) and the TJ Max privacy debacle. Pauline says that for every step that IBM takes they consider privacy, which is overseen by their chief privacy officer. According to Allan, the job of a chief privacy officer is to steward information as it goes into and out of the organization. Jack also feels that the consumers are increasingly choosing to become a part of the information network, to allow their information and personal choices to help marketers deliver relevant messages. He feels that more consumers are headed in this direction as opposed to proactively opting-out.

Allan feels that there are not enough tiers of permissions available from an opt-out perspective. He talks about differences in relationships and how they require different levels of permissions. The real choice is often an “either-or” and there needs to be more granularity. Kevin Ryan talks about how when you hire someone one of the first things that you do is look at MySpace and search engines for information. Are people responsible for their own behavior, especially if it is available on MySpace? (rhetorical)

The panelists then shift to discussion about receiving invites and how some people are inundated at Facebook for example with invitations to be friends or join groups. What happens when you don’t respond? People actually “feel dissed” as Jack puts it, that they were ignored. Ryan asks where do we see the sense of community going? Are people getting tired of the “man burning his own (private parts)?” The panel laughs and Jack sees “we never tire of that kind of thing.” Pauline feels that there will be a proliferation of more private Facebook-type communities.

Heisler asks that by definition isn’t everyone who takes part in Facebook and that kind of community sharing this information with the world? Allan feels that people should understand this and not post things to Facebook that they would not want everyone to see. he knows that when people search his name, they will find a variety of things, but that they should hopefully look at the totality of the information before making judgments. Jack says that because people are sharing so much about themselves. “Gaya,” “Club Penguin,” and “Webkinz” are great examples of kids communities which are teaching children to interact with other people in a completely different way. They are learning to respond based not just on thinking before they act, but also to think and act with their gut. The really young generations that are growing up in this world are learning a completely new method of interconnectivity and ways to express themselves. Yes there are predatory-type dangers, but it is more interesting to look at the positives and the way that people are growing.

Ryan talks about search habits and how if you look at them it can provide a “scary window” into their personality. At what point does the information need to become private? He refers to the issues that are coming up in the discussions with Google/Doubleclick and the worries associated with too much information acted on ain aggregate. Allan says that to the questions of when the Search engines need to increase privacy choices and permissions, we should also ask what the user needs to do. When you delete cookies and cache, you are also deleting the ability to receive relevant advertising. It is again incumbent on the industry to provide more options for the admittedly small number of people that want opt-out options. Again he feels that there needs to be a much more granular level permissions process.

Jack feels that it is up to the advertisers to reward people that choose to receive messaging with increasingly more relevant advertising. If the marketers are not providing relevance thanks to the people choosing not to opt-out or block cookies, they should be rewarded. Pauline feels that companies now have an opportunity to have a very different relationship, but it needs to be better and more contextual. Social media is a two way dialogue – not one way. Ryan asks if there is a Darwinian aspect to this that people that do not take advantage of this type of functionality will eventually be culled from the respective societies? Heisler asks how many would cancel their Facebook accounts if they started seeing more ads? No one raises their hands (large room full of people btw). Jack also reminds that a lot of the ads on Facebook are not seen as ads because they are fro Facebook groups or fan pages since people do not see this as an ad and instead a way to be more involved.

The audience is then polled as to how many are on LinkedIn and there are a lot more hands. The difference between LinkedIn and Facebook is that Facebook is more of a social community also being used for business purposes, but that LinkedIn is more of a business community with less social interaction and communication, according to Jack. Pauline says that she views LinkedIn as a Web 2.0 model of an address book. By giving Kevin control of his listing in my address book, this is better since they will maintain it themselves and make updates.

That’s it for this session, which I feel went very well for a prototype.

***Note this is “live” unedited blog coverage of SES Chicago 2007. Some typos, grammatical errors, or incomplete thoughts may exist.


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