While TIME Magazine ponders the distinguished “Person of the Year,” those of us on the Seattle24x7 editorial board already know the answer. It is You!
Lest you think our skeuomorphic phonograph needle is stuck on a Barack Obama reelection speech or back on the 2006 foil-stamped cover of TIME that mirrored a similar sentiment, we hasten to point out that there is simply no comparison to YOU in 2012 or 2013 than YOU at practically any other moment in YOUR human history. YOU, yes YOU, have become singularly empowered to both “know thyself and grow thyself,” this year and next, as never before.
We spent the rainy weekend looking up a year’s worth of personal Tweets, Facebook Updates, LinkedIn connections, FourSquare check-ins and Instagram pics all from one place — Vizify.com. The product was born in Portlandia to the south (but with some detectable strands of Seattle DNA).
In just a few, quick flicks of the “Authorize” button, Vizify creates your personal anthology of thoughts, comments, places, people and connections in visual storyline fashion, chronicling this information into a clever compendium that functions like total recall for the mind stream you exported to the Net in 2012. Tell Vizify where you have lived since birth, and follow the animated flightpath from city to city in your dossier.
Then again, consider the Facebook Timeline, a very deep dish data slice that is now operating on auto-pilot (in case you didn’t know it). With “active” (not merely passive) updates to both Facebook and Instagram, the story of YOU is being continuously updated like an Orwellian saga. Now, Instagram wants to change its Terms of Service to allow it to share the photos YOU take without any compensation to YOU! Granted, we got PCs in 2006, but auto-updating biographies, and shared photo streams? This is the Year of You!
Still, our thesis dives much deeper. What you shop for on Amazon.com creates a personal algorithmic biorhythm that forecasts what else you might buy. Same with what you watch on Netflix. What you Rate on iTunes. What you have “Liked” on Facebook or +1’d on Google+.
Helping to put a surge into their new era of social search, Bing will now handily dispense search query results that are uniquely relevant to your search patterns and those of your Facebook friends. Bing also knows your Klout score, having acquired the service in 2012 that scores not only your notoriety across various social activities but your personal expertise. Based on what you talk about on the computer-mediated Internet, who you link to and and who links to you, Bing/ Klout/ Microsoft can tell what you’re good at.
Google’s “Search Plus Your World,” while derided by many, is also able to put things in your perspective by seeing the world through your eyes, your location and your search history, whether logged into Google services or not. Google appears to be migrating away from social to the new Knowledge Graph, although the latest Google “surprise” is that it can also search your Gmail and what’s on your GDrive for more personal results. And if your photo does not year appear in the Google SERPS you have not yet merged your Authorship and your Authority. Better get at it if you want to be “recognized” by face detection scanners, including your peers and customers.
Amazon’s HD Fire makes browsing the Web faster by cacheing the pages that you access most often, queueing them up to your fingertips. What that means for millions of Fire users is that, for convenience sake, Amazon is tracking their footsteps across the Web. The ads you see in your browser window may now “loom larger than they appear” because they mean something more to you based on what you have been reading and clicking.
While this unprecedented level of personal reconnaissance lets you, or others, create profiles that can help diagnose your health, your insurance status, the best deals on air travel, even duplicate your music library by matching what’s on your drive to what’s available in the Cloud, the Net value in the equation is missing only one thing: You!
Why does Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Amazon or Apple get to extract the value of your personal data to fuel their own advertising sales and corporate profit-taking? The person who owns your personal data is YOU. Are you selling it to these information brokers on the Web? Trading it? Or giving it away? Like the difference between a social data “bank “and a social data “credit union,” shouldn’t the “personal profile dividend” be returned to those whose equity is earning it?
This year, next year, and for years to come, only You can decide whether the value exchange you get in return for your personal information is worth it to you, personally and professionally, to your family, to the community you live in and the society you help create. YOU are in the driver’s seat. Happy “New You” Year!
Seattle24x7’s “What’s Brewing” will be off until the first week of 2013.