Privacy is dead, and social media hold smoking gun

Excerpts from a piece from CNN:

What about the cost of not sharing? In the online realm, that might mean you simply don't exist.

Photo-sharing site Flickr made a brave decision in its early development: By default, photos would be public. Though ambitious at the time, the choice now seems obvious. What value do photos have when they're not shared?

Twitter followed suit: Its private accounts are rare, meaning Twitter's fire-hose of updates is becoming an invaluable stream of the world's consciousness (incidentally, this month saw that stream licensed to both Microsoft and Google to bolster their search efforts).

Even Facebook, which once held fast to its model of private sharing among close friends, is pushing an "everyone" button that makes your updates public.

Unknown and unemployed

The value of a life led in public is most obvious to those seeking employment. Working in media, I frequently find myself talking to journalists who now possess a distribution channel entirely separate from their publication.

With thousands of Twitter followers and hundreds of Facebook friends, these writers are building large audiences for their personal brands that make them a valuable asset to employers.

As he tweets out his latest story to his 1.1 million Twitter followers, does David Pogue need The New York Times, or does The New York Times need David Pogue? And what becomes of the newly unemployed journalist who doesn't set up a Twitter account like Pogue, who has posted more than 2,000 tweets on technology, fatherhood and other topics?

Without industry connections or a valuable audience for your work, you aren't even on the radar.

Unemployment is just an extreme example of the cost of not sharing in professional life, of course. The "who you know" mantra holds true throughout the world of work, and the more content we share, the more connections and opportunities open up.

You can't improve what you don't measure

This month also saw the first shipments of the Fitbit: This clip-on pedometer is worn day and night, logging your exercise and sleep patterns and sending the data wirelessly to the Fitbit Web site whenever you're near the base station. Do I need to mention that this data is then shared with friends and family?

The benefits here are obvious: Logging all your physical activity online gives incentives to improve and accurate measurements of your progress. Roping in friends and family makes this a shared goal. You're not alone in your fitness regime.

Don't want to share? Scared what others might think? Ask yourself whether the opportunity cost is really a price worth paying.

In the attention economy, privacy is obscurity

We're living at a time when attention is the new currency: With hundreds of TV channels, billions of Web sites, podcasts, radio shows, music downloads and social networking, our attention is more fragmented than ever before.

Those who insert themselves into as many channels as possible look set to capture the most value. They'll be the richest, the most successful, the most connected, capable and influential among us. We're all publishers now, and the more we publish, the more valuable connections we'll make.

Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Foursquare, Fitbit and the SenseCam give us a simple choice: participate or fade into a lonely obscurity.
Unfortunately, the article does not cover those of us who participate, but try to do so, privately.  Read the rest  here.

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