Privacy Issues. NSA, Samsung, Jay-Z


More than likely if you are reading this you are aware of the recent debate over online privacy and what is being shared with companies and even the government with the recent NSA scandals. I’ve been meaning to share my point of view for some time on this but decided it was fairly trivial. As an individual I accept the fact that if I use a machine that is connected to a data source, I understand data will be saved and collected. Others for some reason are naive to believe that data isn’t being collected on them when online and they hoot, holler, and complain about the situation. Either way. It’s a choice that must be accepted.

What led me to share my thoughts on online privacy concerns though is the recent controversy on the partnership between Samsung Mobile and Jay-Z to provide 1 million downloads of his new Magna Carta album if they download a special application on their Samsung phone by July 4. Well that day has come and gone and now some of those that wanted to download are balking and bickering over the fact that why does Jay-Z need so much information prior to downloading the music? Case in point is rapper “Killer Mike” who tweeted:

First of all, I am not an avid follower of Killer Mike, but based on his follower base (70K current followers) Killer Mike doesn’t appear to be a heavy hitter in the space, though I may be wrong. In either case, based on what the interweb has used this tweet and other conversation that has appeared online, there is this paranoia that Jay-Z and Samsung is basically as Gawker headlines: “…a massive data mining operation” and even consideration to NSA type data collection.

Are you seriously kidding me?

Has anyone considered that fact that when you install an application on your phone there are basic areas of the phone that an app needs to access in order to function correctly? Of course there are additional areas that help for future development as well in order to provide the best experience. Next time anyone downloads a free game from Android Marketplace, pay close attention to what areas of your phone you are giving access to because in exchange for not paying anything for the app (free) you are giving up certain data.

This isn’t an uncommon thing people! Which leads me to the topic of free.

When this deal was announced and a “free” label was attributed to a “condition(s)” (1. need a Samsung phone 2. Need Android 3. Need an Application to download) how can someone honestly believe their isn’t a marketing spin to this above and beyond the ‘buzz’ that this was getting. Let’s break this down:

  1. Storage – The music needs to be stored somewhere, so the app needs access to this in order to download it to the phone.
  2. System Tools – The description on this can scare someone but it’s not uncommon to get access to this in order to have certain functions of the app run better.
  3. Your location – Depending on how the app functions, this could be a experience benefit or it could flat out data for marketing geo-targeted efforts.
  4. Network Communications – Another area of an app that will determine if I am connected to phone data or WiFi. Not uncommon for music apps.
  5. Phone Calls – Has anyone heard of Ringtones? Though this could scare a sceptic.

So let’s please stop complaining that this is a privacy scandal and a massive data mining operation. In the day and age of big data, this will be the standard that we must make a decision to accept or not. If a business transaction takes place (free product, service, transaction, etc.) happens, data will be collected. The extent of what data will be collected and for what reason needs to be clearly identified. Businesses need to understand that the customer will demand more clarification before they accept ANY data transfer.

If not, a free gold nugget will turn into a rusted bucket fast.

Keep Social Media Rudimentary

Rudimentary Social Media

This year marks my 10 year anniversary in managing some form of social media. How do I have 10 years experience in a “new” online medium like social media? Well, my first foray into community management was in 2002 when I began an online community forum for ethnic Romanian youth. It was a community that I grew from 1 person to over 30,000 members within 4 years. I trace this experience as my first experience in starting, building, maintaining and growing a social media community. How was it social media? Well on a daily basis members were growing, engaging, commenting, sharing, uploading and even “connecting” which was the tag line of the community.

Then MySpace began growing in 2006-7 and eventually Facebook in 2008-9 and the community began to dwindle to a point of an online ghost town of the Old West.

Out of this experience I learned a key valuable lesson that has following me through my professional career in making a living in leading and directing social media practice for large corporations. As big or little as your community is or as small or large as your budget for social media may be, one thing is key. We need to keep Social Media Rudimentary.

What is Rudimentary Social Media?

Social media at the core is about sparking relationships, building trust, and nurturing conversation. Let’s go ahead and break up these 3 key principles and distinguish between them so we can keep social media rudimentary.

1. Sparking Relationships

One of the primary elements of social media is sparking relationships. A relationship is something that needs a spark. It does not start without that first approach. That moment when someone has the courage to approach someone and say, Hi! However, social media and the autonomy that it can bring makes that first approach in a relationship even more important.

How many times can you count when someone on Twitter sent you a random tweet that had nothing to do with you? You instantly characterize that person as either a spammer or nuisance.

That is why it is critical that when you spark a relationship via social media it is done the way it was intended to be. You notice someone and have an interest in connecting with that person. You look for the opportunity to approach that person and introduce yourself hopefully with something that you have in common or share interests. Once the opportunity arises you nudge that person or share a thought or comment in order to show who you are.

Once that spark is created in an authentic way, the relationship may begin if there is a mutual respect for one another. Many people within social media try to make it so complex and strategic. Keep it simple. Think of the other person first.

2. Building Trust

Trust is something that takes a long time to build and within an instant it can be lost. Once you have sparked the relationship it takes time to build trust. Perhaps it is consistently encouraging or engaging that person with your thoughts and comments. Better yet, you are able to meet the person in real life to build the human capital necessary to  deepen the relationship.

In social media trust is not built on someone liking a post, leaving a comment, or sharing an image with you or your brand. Trust is built with time. If we take a deep look into how social media is used today, very few people can say they trust another person or brand online. Build a solid foundation and you will have long lasting trust.

3. Nurturing Conversation

Once you have sparked the relationship and are building trust there begins to be a moment with conversation becomes routine or worst yet, you know each other so much that conversation evaporates or worse is a tendency to move on to the next great thing.  At this point is where the conversation needs to be nurtured. In other words, provide new insights and thoughts. Provide opportunity for things that haven’t been experienced before. Topics that are fresh or current.

With social media being a medium that changes so quickly and relationships are beyond over compulsive with a 140 character limit and short exchanges of ideas, this final step of nurturing the conversation is where authenticity is truly tested.

As social media continues to mature and become more and more ingrained within our culture, people and brands that will evolve to effectively leverage social media will understand the importance of these 3 principles and the dire need to keep social media rudimentary.

Have you over complicated social media? How else can we keep social media rudimentary?