Let’s imagine for a moment that you built a web site and that this particular web site grew and grew and grew to never before attained levels of traffic. Now imagine that the web site you invented continues to grow for the next 5 years becoming the number one site on the entire internet. You have more registered users than anyone has ever attained on any other web site. Your members can interact and share content including photos, videos, their opinions, links, etc. with many friends and acquaintances at one time in a matter of seconds. Businesses can use it to communicate with customers. Virtually everyone is using your site to connect with each other and unite with old friends. Your site revolutionizes social web applications and becomes arguably the most popular form of communication and media.
Your web site changes the entire world.
You are able to make a generate great revenue from the web site from businesses who want to advertise on it, but your users who use the site day in and day out to express themselves and benefit the most from the site continue to use the web site at no charge.
One day an associate suggests to you that you utilize the information that you have on file from your users to revolutionize online advertising. You will be able to allow businesses to target individuals who have certain interests, live in certain areas, are of a certain age, etc. and your advertisers will have the ability to serve ads only to those groups that they wish to target. Everyone will want to advertise on your web site. You will provide businesses with virtually waste-free advertising and consumers will be shown products that match their interests.
You decide to move forward with this plan, take your company public and continue to test the limits of your idea.
Your users- the people who benefit most from the service, will continue to be able to use your web site at no charge.
Some people begin to voice opposition…stating that they are going to stop using your service, that you are selling out, that you are violating people’s privacy (the same people mind you who share photos, opinions, videos, etc. by using your service), and that your web site is an evil corporation.
The same people who use your service day after day now start to badmouth and criticize you for wanting to expand and push the envelope.
How would you feel?
I am sure by now you know where I am headed with this. You know who and what I am talking about and you probably get the general sense of my viewpoint.
So why are people turning on Mark Zuckerberg? Why do people take their privacy so seriously all of a sudden now when money is involved?
Even many of the same people who post photos, videos, opinions, rant about their unhappiness, etc. are all up in arms because Mark wants to share what music they listen to with record company executives. They seem to share the sentiment that it’s about privacy, but is it?
I have my own opinion as to why and I am going to share it with you here.
The real issue here is not a matter of an individuals privacy, the issue is that our culture…our country now has a climate where we condemn successful people.
The same people that I grew up with, the same people that I worked with early on in my career, even many of the people that I run into at the gym and converse with want to talk about a “balanced life” and talk in terms of average thinking, average possibilities, and average outcomes.
I cringe when I hear anyone talk about having balance in their life. Why? Because I know that I am listening to someone who is too afraid or too lazy to commit themselves to do exceptional things. On top of that, this person is also trying to convince me that I am doing too much and that I should try to find balance and box myself in to average thinking as well. Beware of these people.
This same thinking is the reason that people want to make a villain out of a guy like Mark Zuckerberg. It’s acceptable for him to have Facebook, to make a living off of it to a “reasonable” extent, for us all of society to use it day in and day out to change the quality of life that we have, etc. as long as Mark doesn’t have too much success at our expense, right? STOP! This guy revolutionized media and communications and he should be UNREASONABLY WEALTHY for his accomplishments. What’s more? He should also be put up as a positive role model to us,to our friends and to our children of what a person can accomplish when they make a large contribution to their sector. Instead you start to see people become critical of Mark. The same people who are using his product (yes it is a PRODUCT) to express their dissatisfaction with Mark’s decisions are now posting about how they might cancel their account, or how wrong it is of Mark to sell profile data to businesses, etc. as if they own Facebook or are entitled to use it for free without it’s creators benefiting in any fashion.
The last time I checked my cell phone wasn’t free. My cable bill isn’t free. My internet connection isn’t free. Someone explain to me why Facebook is required to be free? Mind you that it is and will always be for the foreseeable future, but to say that Mark can’t leverage on his product to produce wealth is absurd.
The issue isn’t privacy, people. Throw that out the window. If you want privacy, don’t post your opinions, photos, videos, and rants online. I’m not about to stop, because I’m not out to live a private life. The internet isn’t the place for privacy. Then again neither is the DMV, your cell phone provider, your cable provider, your credit card companies, your bank or any of the other places who sell your information to each other for the purpose of creating revenue.
In 2012 your issue isn’t privacy, it’s anonymity. It’s obscurity. It’s average thinking getting you average results. It’s letting others who have already given up on their passions convince you that you should accept average. While you want to protect yourself, privacy shouldn’t be your focus…being well known at what you do should be.
I intend to leverage on all social media to share with friends, acquaintances, people from my past, professionals, etc. You should consider it an opportunity to be known as opposed to an invasion of your privacy.
Thanks as always for taking the time to read and happy selling!