The Post Where I Ponder Cool vs. Creepy
Recently I made a decision to try to capture all of my ideas by writing them down in a little notebook. Yesterday, I had an idea about an app that would be cool. But then I stopped, re-read it, pondered, and crossed it out with the words “TOO CREEPY.”
There is a line between a cool technology and a creepy one. The line is small, blurred, and most likely written in pencil, but it is there none-the-less. As a technology-prone millennial, I rarely have qualms about giving my information to third parties. For the most part, this is because usually they are using the data to my benefit. If my grocery store wants my email, and I get free nectarines in return, I consider that a fair trade. Plus, with technology, it seems that no matter how hard you try, your information is going to end up in the World Wide Web, so why not have control over it and benefit from it?
It is not hard, however, to get from that case to Big Brother. Case in point: Spokeo. If you have never heard of Spokeo, forget that I wrote about it, because five minutes surfing that site can turn any digital overlord into a cowering techno-phobe.
The line dividing the two has everything to do with the audience. A large reason that many people who like Facebook dislike Twitter is because the audience isn’t their “Friends”, who they know in real life (IRL). The point of Twitter is to broadcast to a global group of people who you don’t know. To increase followers with your same interests and create discussions about what news is to them. Spokeo isn’t creepy because it has my information - it is creepy because it is broadcasting my information, which I did not provide, to everyone. Some would argue that Google does the same, but I feel a greater level of control about what shows up with Google as opposed to Spokeo, since the data comes from different sources. Security will always be a concern, but as technology evolves and the line blurs, we have to decide our comfort level with what is trendy and at what point we will sacrifice convenience for a semblance of privacy.
So as we obsess over big data and small data, and come up with ideas for new sites and apps, let’s remember to keep it cool - not creepy.