When I launched this series, I stated that use of technology is no longer an option, it needs to be an integral part of nearly every action you take in running a successful business. Technology itself, however, is just a tool – one that can be used for good or for evil. I had mentioned that we don’t have to be relegated to the role of being the product being sold, but we do have to be aware of how technology and in particular – gathered data – is used.
One can’t write a column today without acknowledging the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica uproar, the probable Russian interference with USA elections, and the driverless car running over & killing a pedestrian in a crosswalk. These headlines come screaming at you regularly from your favorite source of unverified internet social media mongering delivered straight to your handheld device.
We have also just witnessed the power of motivation combined with technology in March for our Lives, which like Me Too, and Arab Spring pay no attention to the old rule boundaries set up by the powerful or the bullies or the government functionaries that like things – just status quo.
We live in a time of technology distributed media and we can’t always be sure of the source or the selection process that delivers information to us. But we can be sure that much of our personal information is already out there. Those 50M compromised records in facebook are a fraction of the total information available to be gleaned. There are 1.5 Billion daily active users on facebook and if you check some of the permissions of your new easy to use tools – they often state that – while you may not give them permission to post for you – you do give permission for them to read your friends list – and addresses – Yup – one click of a button and you’ve just compromised MY privacy. Think about that for a moment. Then think about what your mother might have told you growing up – if two people know something- it is no longer a secret.
So the cat is out of the bag. There is little accountability but a grand free-for-all with your information which by the way- all of us willingly gave up in exchange for ease and access. There will always be a way to capture, sort and license information – there always has been it just wasn’t as precise and fast in the past.
Technology is just a tool and a means to an end result. Since you can’t always know if it’s a Mother Teresa or a Steve Bannon behind the tools, you need to choose your partners and suppliers carefully. If you are that business or organization gathering information and building a community of followers, you will gain credibility and open yourself to less risk of a Public Relations disaster if you are as transparent and consistent as possible. Technology Forensics will eventually identify the source or manipulation. It’s all data. It’s all waiting to be reviewed.
Whatever you do in life and in business, you will find a myriad of tools to help you. Information is only as good as the data collected and the same data can be bent or interpreted to serve many different points of view. We find that now in the everyday fights that break out between friends online. So, take the time to look around at who you’re connected to and what kind of community you want to build. With a mix of good business sense, some artist creative grounding to keep it human and the technology harnessed to be fully under your own control, you will be able to reach far beyond anything previously possible. Own your own website and your email list. Carefully consider the tradeoffs of convenience vs building a base you can truly count on.
Want more ideas on how to grow your organization or your business ethically with stronger connections and less chance of your data disappearing or being misused?
Just drop me a line.