Personal Brand Management – The Digital Dilemma – Privacy vs. Usability

Personal Brand Management - The Digital Dilemma - Privacy vs. Usability

We all want to be ourselves and express ourselves accordingly but a problem exists with social media, aggregators, Google and the whole digital world today. There is no privacy. In order to use these mediums to communicate, we waive our rights on different levels. When was the last time you read Twitters Privacy Policy or Terms of Service? What is the security risk in using Google Buzz? Ever looked at the top of your Gmail account? That's right - targeted advertising because Google crawls Gmail accounts gleaning every demographic tidbit it can about us. That's how they make money - through targeted advertising like Adwords. Ever look at your Google profile only to see your purchase history and credit card information? Ever wonder how these companies pay for all the neat gadgets and processing power used for all of us. That's right campers, by selling our information.

Branding” ourselves by our “social graph” and demographics via where we’re from, what school we went to, who we know, where we work, etc. has been around as long as marketing, but there are now companies that use our information we give away without a thought - because it so ridiculously easy to do. Targeted information gathering through social media cuts through all the fluff and gets to our core habits, needs, and desires. It’s the “rich data” about us. That's why it's so valuable and that’s why we should all pay close attention to it.

I've been seeing posts about students who search out schools based on their social media presence. That is the way of the world today and that's fine. But think about it in reverse. Your school basing your entrance on your grades, your associates, and your social media profile. Or how about a job interview that, as part of your background check, buys your social media history. Don't be afraid - be very afraid. Now get scared - get real scared.

Our digital history resides out there on a server somewhere, be it the cloud through everything you do with Google Docs, a post to a friend on Twitter that you think has gone away, an old MySpace account and the list goes on and on. Businesses are packaging and marketing these tweets, posts, and pages and making a tidy sum by selling the information in aggregated form. So just remember your personal brand and your good name that you need for credibility now and in the future could be in jeopardy because the cat got away again, or the dog ate your homework. Then you tweet or post something that's not normally you and Walla, it shows up on Bing as the best search result for a key phrase.

I suspect business has been doing this kind of thing for many years, but with the digital marketplace exploding and the meteoric rise of social media, we are more lax than ever about our personal brand. We advertise Pittsburgh Brand Reputation Management for small business all the time. So think of yourself as a brand. Or, think about yourself as being a celebrity with a reputation to protect. Why risk being labeled a troublemaker or much, much worse.

Tags: brand management, google, google crawls, information gathering, media history, media presence, media profile, personal brand, targeted advertising

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