I’ve haven’t forgotten the promised capsule review of Joseph Turow’s recently published book about the Internet advertising industry.
Quite frankly, the book is frightening in many respects, and does, at the very least, give one pause. Thinking about this book in the context of a virtual needlepoint shop, I can’t imagine doing anything like what is described here.
Not to be an alarmist, but it would be as if I would try to find out everything I could about people who casually dropped into a brick and mortar store that I might own: their names, ages, the names and ages of their children, their specific geolocations, the identities of their internet service providers, occupations, income levels, who their friends are, what kind of cars they drive, what other stores they visit, what other merchandise they purchased, and so on, ad nauseam, with an emphasis on nauseam.
Talk about what amounts to online stalking, coupled with cheap tricks to get ever more page hits, all wrapped in some beyond creepy package.
Call me antediluvian, but I would be duly cautious about how I use social media, and particularly so with all those newish and super cool geo-based applications being promoted these days as the latest hot thing.* I’m talking about letting complete strangers know, at any given moment, exactly where you are.
This can really bite someone, particularly teenagers, who might not realize the inherent dangers. Or if you have a home, say, you don’t want someone breaking into, particularly if you’re not there.
At Needlepoint Land, I don’t try to digitally fingerprint my visitors, either on their comps, or across the devices they might use, and never will. I can’t speak for WP, but I will never try to surreptitiously follow you around, if you visit this blog, or knowingly do any of the other vile things Turow describes. If YouTube or Soundcloud leave permanent trackers on your hard drive, via a post of mine that has vid or audio, or if you come here via a search engine that does the same, well, it ain’t me, but I’m sorry anyway.
The good news is you can easily get rid of many of these shadowy little friends with add ons to your browser, or keep your IP private using Tor.
Of course it’s an annoyance having to do so.
My view is, if you like visiting here, I’m happy that you dropped by, and hope you come back again. And that’s pretty much it, unless you send me an email, and say you want me to contact you.
I think the low-key approach is the one I happen to favor (I like to lampoon, as you may have noticed, the tendency of businesses to indulge themselves in overheated or insincere marketing come-ons, which I do by issuing silly “press releases” that announce Needlepoint Land goes global, Needlepoint Lands on top of it all on Google’s results page, and so on), and cannot imagine allowing the level of intrusiveness and violation of personal privacy and inducive manipulation that you can read about in Turow’s book.
I may come across as naive, or whatever, in this age of ours of little or no personal privacy, but that’s how I feel about it. Some computer guru once famously said, about privacy on the Internet, get over it. I say: I don’t think so.
For those of you who care about such things, I don’t need to give you advice about how to try to keep your identity as secure as possible: there are many sites on the Web for that, which discuss in great technical detail how to protect yourself on the Internet.
But I will say this: if you come to Needlepoint Land, you can rest assured that I take your privacy very seriously, and will never stoop to pulling the sorts of low stunts described in Turow’s book. That’s a guarantee.
Meanwhile, if you are in the mood for a Nightmare on Elm Street techno read, check out The Daily You.
* If you are interested in sneaking a peek at what’s coming down the pike with this technology, you might want to visit SxSW Interactive (their annual industry meetup just ended), and read what the latest crop of twenty-something-year-old, self-appointed, Internet visionary du jour, biz dev types have to say about the future of the mobile Web.
© Erin McGrath and Needlepointland.com, 2012 – 2016.