Updated: May 7, 2021
In this ever evolving world you can go to sleep with one understanding and wake up in the morning needing to learn the "new way of things". With the digital innovations that fly at us at a rapid pace, it is an exciting time to be alive. However, as we innovate the public becomes more concerned about privacy.
Everyday on my feeds I see someone with real concerns about social sites and the use of their data, the government watching our every move, and other privacy related concerns. I get why you're so worried, but what you may not have noticed while sharing articles about the evil intentions of Facebook is that less privacy has actually made for a better life.
Now, I'm not saying we should give away our rights and allow everyone to know everything about us, but the current use of information is actually pretty constructive. If 9/11 proved anything, it's that the unexpected can happen at any moment. Data sharing and a more open society have helped aid agencies in preventing many different terrorist attacks around the globe.
Outside of a little less privacy keeping us safe, it's also keeping us sane. Remember the days before PVR when you'd actually have to watch TV commercials? It feels like the times of cavemen and striking sticks and stones to build a fire.
The reason we hated advertising so much is because it wasn't catered to us. Now, with a little less privacy and a technology called retargeting, ads are being served up to us based on our activities and interests. This means that while there are more ads popping up online, they are more relevant.
Letting go of some data through what is called a pixel is what we needed to make this future possible. The pixel installs a tiny scrap of data known as a cookie in your browser. It's hard at work around the clock so that if you're looking for a car, but not a house, you're not seeing a ton of ads from real estate agents. Instead, car ads will be popping up around the web (wherever you surf) and the Internet Gods will help you find that new vehicle you're dreaming about all day long.
I see this as a good thing. Not being a parent, I don't care about formula or diapers and I don't want ads for those items popping up all over the internet. Instead, I get ads for digital tech, accessories for my car, items I could buy for date night, and trips. That's what I want to see, and that is why advertising online is superior to real world advertising.
Now of course, in a perfect world there would be no terrorism and no advertising, but this less than perfect world of ours has both so we need to figure out how we co-exist with those realities. Let's face it, you're not doing anything wrong online and the only data that sites like Facebook, Google, and Bing can pull is the data you're putting out there into the world anyway. It's simple to keep your privacy in tact if you'd like, just unplug. Short of that, you'll have to make what some might call compromises, and what I call adjustments.
Absolute privacy can only exist if we share absolutely nothing, which isn't happening so instead of fighting it, look at the revolution of personalized ads and identification profiles within government agencies as progressive. Then, if any person or company steps over the lines of acceptable limits then punish them by taking them to task.