In a recent post about “FourSquare Fatigue,” I noted the generational difference in the way people view online privacy.
The New York Times had an interesting piece on Friday that digs into the issue more deeply. While privacy advocates bemoan that many users don’t consider how the information they’re sharing could be “used and exploited by marketers,” venture capitalists are pouring millions of dollars into plays like Blippy, FourSquare and Skimble. And many consumers are freely offering up their data.
While I’m not sure I see the business model that will evolve from some of these plays, it’s clear people see the power of social networks to drive purchase decisions and generate reams of behavioral data.
And this made me think of another article I bookmarked recently. Groundswell co-author Josh Bernoff wrote a blog post on Peer Influence Analysis on his blog. This is a preview of sorts for Empowered, an upcoming book about the “power of individuals and word of mouth.”
“The question is, can you quantify that?” Bernoff asks. He then answers: “Yes, you can. … It’s called Peer Influence Analysis.”
Clearly, an increasing amount of work is being done in this area. It’s worth keeping an eye on … and it will be interesting to see how consumers react to Facebook’s latest moves to aggregate data. Will this be the next Beacon, or will consumers be willing to negotiate some of their privacy in exchange for “the power of word of mouth.”