Who Knows What You Clicked Down And Dirty Last Night

A couple of cautionary tales have come by way of our two major state daily newspaper about the erosion of privacy that is accompanying our ability to interact more intimately with the world. Down and Dirty written by the National Secretary of the Australian family Association reports on a growing trend by employers to “Google” prospective employees. In the process it is suggested that many adolescent social sites are potential time bombs in what they may reveal. The suggestion is put that many are “dairies on steroids” and that entries which may at the time be explorations in developing a sense of self can be later viewed through a different lens altogether.

Along a sort of related theme, We Know What You Clicked Last Night delves into the world of marketing and the phenomenon known as behavioral targeting. It examines how marketers are are seeking to deliver commercial messages according to personal profiles that are built up through analysis of internet surfing patterns. In a neat twist only an ad exec could think of it is even sold

“……….a boon to the consumer, who in an ideal world will only receive commercial messages that suit them personally………”

I can hardly wait, though in truth if you notice sites that have Google ads that you pay attention to, variants of these sort of targeted campaigns are not hard to spot already.

Whilst both stories are cautionary tales that will no doubt be seen by some critics as further evidence of the wickedness of all things Web 2.0 they are in this humble commentators eyes, an even more powerful for dealing with the downsides of these practices, in the classroom. To reinforce this notion this 3-minute version of the most recent OCLC Symposium at ALA Midwinter 2007 makes the point that libraries are in a unique position to do just this. The full video (2:23:19) can be viewed at http://www.oclc.org/index/symposium .

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