The Commodified Self

“I can’t afford to not record.”Little Brother, Watch Me

I ended my work day by listening to Aral Balkan’s Drupalcon Prague  2013 Keynote:

 

By the end of it, he’s making an impassioned plea for open source makers of digital goods to create high quality “indie data” solutions and products to compete with the “Big Data” world that most of us have acquiesced to with the GOOG, Apple, Facebook and their ilk. His point is that closed systems are successful in creating great user experience and that lulls consumers into choosing an experience that trades privacy because it just works and makes you happy. He uses his misadventure with Firefox OS as a great example of this that I found quite amusing.

Then I got in the car to come home and the first feature story on All Things Considered was the final part of their series on “Your Digital Trail.”

Included in the audio but not in the text was a question they posed around devices like fitbit and fuel band. Say you’re in a car accident, couldn’t an insurance company use the sleep data you’re tracking to question your alertness?

That was a scenario I hadn’t considered. I track just about everything. I use google and apple services and devices. I check in to locations via foursquare. I wear a fitbit. The music I’m listening to while I write this is being logged on last.fm. I use geo-location enabled features all the time. I text message. I tweet.

My standard position has been that I get a lot of value in exchange for giving up all this data. I’m not so sure I believe that, anymore.

I doubt that means I’m going to change my habits tomorrow but it does mean that if there were “indie data” options that were designed with a consumer intent, I’d be more than open to them.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Comments (

1

)

  1. Jason Schupp

    "By the end of it, he’s making an impassioned plea for open source makers of digital goods to create high quality "indie data" solutions and products to compete with the "Big Data" world that most of us have acquiesced to with the GOOG, Apple, Facebook and their ilk. His point is that closed systems are successful in creating great user experience and that lulls consumers into choosing an experience that trades privacy because it just works and makes you happy."

    That’s my hope for the internet, right there — I love the benefits of centralized services, but I do want independent services that I can run on my own server/webhosting that has great features/UI and works with only a modicum of work on my part. That, of course, is asking a LOT at the moment. I was pulling for Diaspora and I keep wondering if setting up my own installation of status.net would be worth it, but the truth is, even if I did all this, I’d need all my friends to change their habits, too, around the same time, so we all reap the benefits. Otherwise I’m on a very nice independent service all by myself.

    Like

%d bloggers like this: