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March 19, 2019

Did We Break the Internet? Or Did the Internet Break Us? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 242)

March 19, 2019 | By | No Comments

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Did We Break the Internet? Or Did the Internet Break Us? Woman reads online news on social network

Did We Break the Internet? Or Did the Internet Break Us? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 242) – Headlines and Show Notes

Online plays a big role in the ways we interact with one another. And, unfortunately, the ways we interact with one another is not always positive. What caused this? Did we break the internet? Or did the internet break us? The latest episode of Thinks Out Loud offers some thoughts. Here are the show notes:

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using a Heil Sound PR 30 Large Diaphragm Multipurpose Dynamic Microphone through a Cloud Microphones CL-1 Cloudlifter Mic Activator and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 13m 46s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], the Google Play Store, via our dedicated podcast RSS feed )(or sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player at the top of this page.

Did We Break the Internet? Or Did the Internet Break Us? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 242) Transcript

Well, hi, everyone. Welcome back to Thinks Out Loud. My name is Tim Peter, today is Tuesday, March 19th, 2019. This is episode 242 of the big show, and as ever, I very much appreciate you tuning in.

So this is going to be a bit of a weird episode for me. But one that I hope is the start of a conversation. Obviously, there was a big tragedy this past week, these terrorist shootings in New Zealand. And while it’s a small part of the tragedy in real terms, obviously, given what I do, using digital and things like that, there’s the really important discussion that’s started, given the use of Facebook video by the shooter to livestream the shooting, a number of people are asking and I think they’re asking in good faith, whether social media specifically, and the internet more generally have caused or will cause more harm than good.

And I think their arguments are generally lucid, they’re well-reasoned, they’re well worth your time. I plan to link to another of some of the best ones I’ve seen in the show notes, and I’d really encourage you to take the time to engage with them. In effect, they’re asking if the internet has broken us, if the internet has broken who we are, as human beings?

It saddens me to say that there’s plenty of evidence to support those arguments. The thing about the internet is that it democratizes not only peoples’ access to information, but also peoples’ ability to distribute information. Anyone can post any content online, for anyone to read, hear, watch, experience. I tend to think that’s a good thing. I think history will show that it is a good thing.

Of course, one downside is that anyone can post content, no matter how vile or disturbing that content might be, which is what we saw this past week. Clearly, as I’ve described in a prior episode of the show, explaining why digital is like gravity, I would never argue that it’s an unlimited good thing. Clearly, peoples’ ability to distribute whatever content they want has its downsides.

I know I’ve referenced this before, but as the philosopher Paul Virilio said, “The invention of the ship was also the invention of the shipwreck.” I want to be clear, I want to go on the record right now. I don’t think we should abandon ship, simply because some people want to navigate that ship into rough waters, or because they want to run it aground.

The New Zealand shooter used the benefits of the internet to his advantage, as do lots of people who spread hate, incitement to violence, conspiracy theories, and frankly, all manner of trouble and trolling that you see on a daily basis, on social media. That’s a shame. It really is because people are using something that could be, and can be, and is a tool for great benefit, specifically to cause harm, specifically to cause pain, specifically to cause suffering, and specifically to spread and share that harm, and that pain, and that suffering with as many people as they can.

I think that’s twisted, I think it’s deranged, I think it’s wrong. I also think that blaming those actions on the internet is like blaming gravity when vandals throw bricks off bridges at cars. Yes, gravity plays a role, but it’s the vandals who are taking advantage of its inherent properties of gravity’s inherent use, its utility, who are to blame.

So this gets into a very, very difficult area of conversation because we need to think about the fact that, yes, other terrorists can use these tools, and these media to their advantage, that’s true. We also know that people who seek to divide us, are trying to do the same thing. They’re using these tools to drive wedges amongst people, between people, between groups of people, based on where they see fracture points.

And I think it’s fair to say, we have points of fracture, we have points of disagreement. It’s part of what makes us human. Nobody’s ever going to agree with everybody else about everything. I wish that that were true. And I think there are people who seek to divide us, who want to use those points of disagreement as a wedge, and to drive that wedge further between us, to make us dislike one another more, to make us ham one another more, whether with violence or whether simply with words.

So I don’t encourage that, obviously, and I understand completely how painful and awful a thing that can be. I also think it plays into the hands of the wrong people when we start to say, “How do we stop this?” I do. If you look at things like the Great Firewall of China, or a recent law that was passed in Russia, actually just signed yesterday by Vladimir Putin, that puts quote unquote, “Reasonable limits on content.” It allows authoritarians and people who seek to divide in other ways to restrict access to information that really would be beneficial to most of their population.

That’s not a good thing, I can’t see that as the right solution. And I think if you look at the internet more generally, you’ll see so many examples of where people have used the internet for good, for real good. I think about something like the Ice Bucket Challenge a couple of years ago, to raise awareness of ALS. We all remember it, it went completely viral. It cost the charity, the organization behind it very little money, and resulted in an enormous amount of publicity, and even better, an enormous amount of fundraising and attention to this awful disease, to try to do something to stop it. I’ve run into more stories than I can tell you over my years of working in digital, of times when people used the internet, learned that someone was thinking about killing themselves, thinking about suicide, and using that to help these people when they were in a time of crisis. And of course, it provides access to information for marginalized people all around the world. People who are struggling with their identity, people who are struggling with being oppressed in various communities around the world.

It is an enormous benefit. Yes, I clearly remain optimistic about this. I’m cautiously optimistic, and I share a number of concerns about the ways that digital and the internet can be used for harm. Despite that, I am optimistic all the same. And I recognize that that may sound foolish, after the horror of the past week. But I also think that trying to change the world for the better requires optimism. It requires us to hope, it requires us to think about where we want to be, and who we want to be, and envisioning ourselves into a better future.

Not a perfect future, not a future that won’t come with bumps and bruises, but a better place. I don’t think the internet has broken us, the internet is us. We still have a voice, and we still have influence, and we still have the opportunity to control, and shape the direction it takes. Yes, there are awful people, who want to take it in different directions. Yes, there are bad actors, who choose to use the internet for terrible ends. They also remain a minor share of total usage.

The shipwrecks might be real, but I strongly believe that this ship is worth saving. I’d encourage you to check out the show notes, you may feel different from me. I’d encourage you to take a look at the show notes, where I’ve linked to a number of posts, even those I disagree with so you can get a sense of other points of view on this. And after you’ve had a chance to check those out, I’d genuinely love to hear what you think about this. Maybe I’m wrong, this is supposed to be a dialogue.

Drop me a line on Twitter, using the handle @tcpeter, or an email at podcast@timpeter.com, or a message on Facebook at Facebook.com/timpeterassociates, and let me know what you think. Let’s use the internet in its best, most pure form, and I’ll be sure to share your thoughts in a future episode so that we can keep the conversation going. Because ultimately, I think that proves the strength, and the power, and the value that the internet provides, and the ability it helps us, the ability it offers us to steer the ship in a direction we want it to go. So I hope you’re willing to engage in this dialogue. I really look forward to continuing the discussion.

Now looking at the clock on the wall, we are out of time for this week. But I do want to remind you, you can find the show notes for today’s episode, as well as an archive of all of our episodes at timpeter.com/podcast. Again, that’s timpeter.com/podcast. This is episode 241.

While you’re there, you can click on the subscribe link in any of the episodes you find there, to have Thinks Out Loud delivered to your favorite pod catcher, every single episode. You can subscribe in iTunes, or the Google Play Music Store, or Stitcher Radio, or wherever your favorite pod catcher happens to be. Just do a search for “Tim Peter Thinks,” “Tim Peter Thinks Out Loud,” or “Thinks Out Loud,” we should show up for any of those.

With that, I want to wish you nothing but peace in your life. I hope you have a wonderful week ahead, a fantastic weekend, and I do look forward to the ongoing discussion with you, here on Thinks Out Loud. Until then, please be well, be safe, and take care, everybody.

Tim Peter

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November 20, 2018

How Badly Has Facebook Effed Up? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 234)

November 20, 2018 | By | No Comments

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How badly has Facebook effed up? Marketers afraid for their customers

How Badly Has Facebook Effed Up? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 234) – Headlines and Show Notes

Faced with a slew of negative coverage, it’s fair to ask, how badly has Facebook effed up? And, more importantly, how badly will that eff up your business? The latest episode of Thinks Out Loud takes a look. Show notes as follows:

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using a Heil Sound PR 30 Large Diaphragm Multipurpose Dynamic Microphone through a Cloud Microphones CL-1 Cloudlifter Mic Activator and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 15m 1s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], the Google Play Store, via our dedicated podcast RSS feed )(or sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player at the top of this page.

Tim Peter

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March 30, 2018

6 Quick Content Marketing And AI Insights: E-commerce Link Digest

March 30, 2018 | By | No Comments

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6 Quick Content Marketing And AI Insights: E-commerce Link Digest

Howdy, Big Thinkers! No setup today. Just a list of 6 quick content marketing and AI insights to carry you through to next week. Enjoy:

  1. Mark Schaefer asks ”is social media marketing still a thing?” And provides a great answer to the question, too.
  2. CMO.com offers up a walk into the future of content with The Mill’s Boo Wong that’s well worth your time.
  3. Our own Tim Peter interviewed Mike Moran on the future of content marketing, search, and digital.
  4. We also rounded up a great set of 8 exceptional insights into voice and AI and their effects on digital marketing for the E-commerce Link Digest series.
  5. Speaking of AI, the Forbes Technology Council says to decide if your company is ready for AI, ask yourself these nine questions
  6. You also will want to check out these 6 proven digital marketing trends (the best of Thinks Out Loud and this great post that asks, how can you succeed at digital marketing next year? 17 great posts offer answers

Have a fantastic weekend, Big Thinkers. Catch you back here next week!

If you’re looking to learn even more about how changing customer behavior will shape your marketing going forward, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Finally, you might enjoy some of these past posts from Thinks to help you build your e-commerce strategy and your digital success:

Tim Peter

By

March 28, 2018

How Will Facebook’s Data Scandal Impact Hotel Marketers?

March 28, 2018 | By | No Comments

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What Facebook's Data Scandal Means for Hotel Marketers

I’ve long been an advocate of the hotel marketers using social media to benefit their properties. In a post that asked, “Is Social a Waste of Time for Hotel Marketers?” I wrote:

“…booking provider eviivo… offers independent hotels and B&B’s pretty terrible advice. Their claim? Quoting Travolution here, “social media has negligible impact on hotel bookings.” And someone’s done the research, so it must be true, right?

Wrong. Dead wrong in fact…

Social media marketing is not a waste of time for hotel marketers when you do it correctly. Neither are OTA’s. Or search. Or email. Or… well, you get the point. They each play a role to help your guest choose your property when they’re ready to book. When you choose your channels appropriately and manage your resources effectively you’ll find that you rarely waste time. And that your business performs well, too.

I doubled down on that sentiment when making the case for social as your hotel’s “secret sales force,” noting the powerful role that social plays when guests tell a positive story about your brand to their friends, family, fans, and followers on social. As that column noted,

According to Nielsen, most people trust the recommendations they receive from their friends and family on social. And on average each of your guests connects with roughly 200 friends and family on Facebook and other social media. Your existing guests offer you a trusted connection with these potential customers.

Just consider the math for a moment. Let’s say you’re responsible for a 100 room hotel, that runs at 60% occupancy and hosts 1.4 guests per room each night. That’s almost 31,000 guests per year that you can put to work telling your brand story. Which, y’know, is a lot of people. And, even using conservative numbers about how many friends each has on social media, those 31,000 guests can reach millions of other potential guests on your behalf …”

Of course, all that was before Facebook’s disastrous week. Two separate scandals in the last week — so far — about the consumer data that the social media giant captured, used, and shared with marketing partners have suddenly led to campaigns encouraging users to #DeleteFacebook.

Folks like Elon Musk took this message to heart, deleting his company’s Facebook pages between the announcement of the first and second Facebook scandals. And that’s in addition to the 2.8 million young users who beat #DeleteFacebook to the punch by abandoning the platform last year.

So, what does this mean for hotel marketers? Should you #DeleteFacebook too?

Will Facebook’s problems change how hotels use social media?

As much fun as it might be to join the chorus calling for Facebook’s demise, the question isn’t “Will Facebook’s problems change how hotels use social media?” The bigger, more important question is, “Will Facebook’s problems change how guests use social media?”

If the answer to that is “yes,” then the decision of what you should do as a marketer is straightforward.

Except for exceedingly rare cases, you probably didn’t start using Facebook while it was restricted to college campuses — not just because because you couldn’t, but because there was no good reason why you would. Your customers simply weren’t there then.

And, as ever, you must watch where your customers go on this one, too. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t take a principled stand. If you genuinely believe Facebook hurts society — that they’re the only bad actor here — then I certainly won’t criticize you for following your conscience and deleting your hotel’s Facebook presence.

I suspect the reality is a trifle more complicated though. Yes, Facebook definitely used consumer data in ways that customers didn’t understand, sometimes because Facebook made it difficult to understand — and sometimes because they made it difficult to choose a better option to protect your data if you did understand it. That’s… not good. They should be held to account for these actions and offer — ideally on their own, but by regulatory oversight if necessary — better controls and protections for consumers.

They’ve also executed — and, frankly, continue to execute — one of the worst public relations responses to a crisis of this magnitude I’ve seen in a while. For a company that facilitates communication, they’re remarkably bad at communicating. They keep trying to frame the problem as one where a few bad guys broke the rules instead of acknowledging the fundamental breach of trust between the company and its customers. Plenty of lessons there worth learning.

It’s also true that Facebook is hardly the only guilty party here. Their practice of collecting call data on Android phones worked because Android’s parent Google allowed it to work. Do we know who else captured similar data and for what purposes? Has Google acknowledged how many consumers have had their data exposed? Or what happened to all the data after Google changed its policy? I’m not aware of any public answers to those questions. And yet I haven’t run across a #DeleteGoogle campaign so far. And, if I had, would you be willing to dump the search giant from your hotel marketing plan? Could you if you wanted to?

Worse, these scandals are likely far from over. I’d expect at least a few more shoes to drop before we find our way to a “new normal” — at this point I’ll be more surprised if another scandal doesn’t emerge.

So, what should you do in the meantime?

How should hotel marketers respond to Facebook’s troubles?

Best practices suggest taking a measured response that minimizes risk to you, and more importantly your guests, while not giving up on what’s working today. Review the following points as you plan your response to the situation:

  • Avoid collecting any data on Facebook that you’re not already gathering. It’s possible this drags on for months or years, complete with congressional committees subjecting Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandburg, and other Facebook functionaries to public confessions and the floggings that follow. It’s also entirely possible this blows over in a couple months as some new, more juicy scandal attracts media and mainstream attention. I mean, it’s not like there’s some crazy story coming out every day that distracts people from the crazy story that happened the day before. But when you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you do is stop digging. Facebook is in a hole; there’s no need to grab a shovel and jump in with them. More plainly, don’t give their critics a reason to come looking for you too. We’ll have a much better sense of where things stand soon. This is a time for patience.
  • Don’t automatically stop what you’re doing today. All that said, unless you have reason to believe you’re doing something customers will hate, you’re likely fine with keeping your current activities in place. Again, this is a time for patience.
  • Keep an eye on your Facebook presence’s performance. Let’s assume the #DeleteFacebook campaign steamrolls towards success and consumers start abandoning the social network en masse. Should you immediately cut your losses and jump ship too? Probably… not. It doesn’t matter how many users Facebook has. It matters who those users are. If your guests continue to use Facebook, you probably need to continue to engage with them there. By the same token, keep a close eye on what’s happening with the reach and engagement your hotel’s posts receive. Look for signs that show how your customers are reacting — or not — to Facebook’s struggles. And, just like you should do with any channel, react accordingly to the reality, not the rumor.
  • While you’re at it, examine your own data practices. Facebook’s day of reckoning offers a warning to all marketers about the dangers of data collection. Consumers clearly care more about the risks in “free” services like Facebook than they did just a few weeks ago. Yes, this could blow over. But the more likely outcome is that they approach all marketers with a greater degree of skepticism about what data gets collected, by whom, and how it gets used. So be upfront with your customers about the data you collect and how you use it. The coming GDPR regulations require this, by the way, so you may as well get on board before regulators everywhere require it. Conduct a serious data audit and ask yourself whether you even need all the data you collect. Ultimately, you want to demonstrate to your guests you’re a trusted partner looking out for their best interests, ideally by being a trusted partner looking out for their best interests.

Conclusion

Clearly, Facebook is taking its lumps right now, both for its actions and for its woeful response to the situation. But despite the best efforts of the #DeleteFacebook campaign, nothing suggests that guests are abandoning the platform in large numbers. That could change at any time.

Your best bet is to ensure you’re doing right by your customers and their data. Ensure you’re acting in an ethical manner and, as is often the case for hoteliers, acting in the best interests of your guests. Make it easy for customers to understand the data you use and what you use it for. Keep track of how your customers are responding to the Facebook scandal to see if the social platform continues to provide value for your hotels — or if it’s time to find a better option.

And, as ever, continue to dig past the headlines of these stories. We’re undoubtedly going to see more of these issues in the weeks and months ahead. Knowing how to respond today is useful; knowing how to respond in the future is vital.

Social media likely will continue in a key role for hotel marketers, Facebook’s missteps notwithstanding. The key for you is how continue you make it work as you — and your customers — move into a new normal. Because failing to listen to customer concerns and respond to those appropriately — regardless of whether Facebook is involved or not — would be the real scandal.

If you’re looking to learn even more about how changing customer behavior will shape your marketing going forward, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Finally, you might enjoy some of these past posts from Thinks to help you build your e-commerce strategy and your digital success:

Tim Peter

By

September 20, 2017

Maybe Facebook’s Data Problem Is Your Data Problem (Thinks Out Loud Episode 203)

September 20, 2017 | By | No Comments

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Maybe Facebook's Data Problem Is Your Data Problem (Thinks Out Loud Episode 203)

Maybe Facebook’s Data Problem Is Your Data Problem (Thinks Out Loud Episode 203) – Headlines and Show Notes

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using a Heil Sound PR 30 Large Diaphragm Multipurpose Dynamic Microphone through a Cloud Microphones CL-1 Cloudlifter Mic Activator and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 12m 11s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], the Google Play Store, via our dedicated podcast RSS feed )(or sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player at the top of this page.

Maybe Facebook's Data Problem Is Your Data Problem

Maybe Facebook's Data Problem Is Your Data Problem: Introduction

Well hello again everyone and welcome back to Thinks Out Loud, your source for all the digital marketing expertise your business needs. My name is Tim Peter, today is Wednesday, September 20, 2017 and this is episode 203 of the big show. Thank you again for tuning in, I really do appreciate it and I think we’ve got a terrific show for you this week.

Maybe Facebook's Data Problem Is Your Data Problem: Situation Analysis

So, a couple week’s ago, I made a reasoned, rational argument for why Facebook’s data problem is their problem, not yours. I set up my thesis, I built some supporting arguments, and I think, I nailed it. Brilliantly. Well done me, right?

Well, wait for it.

Because later that same day, the day I posted that episode, news broke that alleges Facebook sold ads to Russians looking to influence the US presidential election.

Um… whoops.

That same day, ProPublica proved that you could target Facebook ads specifically to anti-Semites using some horrific language on the site.

Um… Bigger whoops.

And, then, to add insult to injury, two days later, the Equifax news hit.

Which is just like “whoops” times infinity.

Now, I’ve mentioned a few times that data represents the crown jewels for your business. Right? Content is king, customer experience is queen, and data is the crown jewels. And if you’re somebody like Facebook or Equifax (or for that matter, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple), that’s putting it mildly. These folks live for data. These are massive companies, with massive influence in our lives, who choose the news we read, the ads we see, our ability to get credit and buy things and a whole host of other behaviors we engage in and rely upon every single day. That’s not just the crown jewels. That’s the whole bloody treasury, palace, and kingdom.

And while I’m leery of excessive regulation, a number of influential thinkers all across the political spectrum have begun to ask, rightly, whether these folks have too much power in our lives — and more importantly, whether they’ve demonstrated the ability to wield that power wisely.

The biggest threat facing Facebook and Google and Equifax and all the rest right now isn’t from their traditional competitors. And it’s not from a stereotypical couple of brilliant kids in a garage. Their problem, their biggest threat, is much bigger than that.

Because the real threat that Facebook and Google face is from consumers turning on them, losing faith in their ability to keep our data safe, and driving regulators to, well, regulate. Equifax underscores these dangers. Big. Time. And if customers begin to see the tech giants in a similar light, watch out.

According to TechCrunch, Facebook had to give testimony to special investigator Robert Mueller. The Atlantic Magazine published a series of articles detailing how and why Facebook should be regulated. Pierre Omidyar, who founded eBay and is nobody’s idea of a luddite, has been ranting on Twitter for the last several weeks about why Facebook should be regulated.

And it’s not just Facebook. Google faces increasing scrutiny in Europe for alleged anticompetitive practices. The New York Times in an article this past April asked, “Is It Time to Break Up Google?” Fortune Magazine suggested in July that Google and Facebook may need antitrust regulation.

And don’t get me started on Equifax. In this specific case, I agree they deserve almost anything that’s coming to them. But I don’t take pleasure in any of this. Nor should you.

Yes, there are editorials online, in newspapers, and in magazines. Yes, there will be hearings in Congress. And, yes, there will be consequences, at least in terms of additional regulation. The industry has done a terrible job taking care of the crown jewels. Others are getting set to step in to say how it should be done.

But that’s why you can’t take pleasure in this. Because at that point Facebook’s data problem might be your problem. Because those regulations might fall squarely on your shoulders too. Talk to anyone who’s beginning to deal with regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation in Europe (better known as GDPR) and they’ll tell you what I’m talking about. It’s an onerous, complex process. And that’s before any of this happened.

This is a big, honkin’ deal, one you’ll likely have to deal with too.

Now, let’s be fair, this is larger than a marketing problem. But that doesn’t mean marketing shouldn’t care about it. We collect an extraordinary amount of data about our customers. And I have and will argue in the future that we should. But only if we’re:

  1. Clear in our intentions for data use and retention.
  2. Upfront with our customers about how we’re going to use that data.
  3. Prepared to let them opt-out if they don’t want us to use that data that way, and
  4. Ready to protect that data from the thieves and hackers, amateur and professional, who are looking to get their hands on that same data, whether for profit or for the lulz.

If you can’t say, “Yes, I’m ready” to each of those four items, it’s probably worth asking yourself whether you ought to be collecting that data in the first place. In the immortal words of Ian Malcolm in the movie Jurassic Park, “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should.” Don’t be that guy.

Maybe Facebook's Data Problem Is Your Data Problem: Antitrust

Now, before you say, “This couldn’t really happen, though,” remember that it already has. There was no antitrust regulation in the US until the late 19th century. But once Senator Sherman declared "If we will not endure a king as a political power we should not endure a king over the production, transportation, and sale of any of the necessaries of life,” we ended up with the Sherman Act of 1890.

And just as Sherman thought it was a bad ides to have a king over “the production, transportation, and sale of any of the necessaries of life,” some other enterprising politician could easily declare, “If our personal and private data about our lives and intentions truly represents the crown jewels, how can we entrust those jewels to any party unwilling to defend those jewels as if the very kingdom depends upon them?”

OK, so I’m not the orator John Sherman was. But you get the point.

Maybe Facebook's Data Problem Is Your Data Problem Summary

Equifax has shown just how dangerous it is to leave the crown jewels in the wrong hands. Facebook and Google have shown exactly how much the data they possess affects our day-to-day lives. And regulators have shown their willingness to act, at least when the public demands it.

You need to get ahead of the situation. You need to work with your IT team and your vendors to ensure that, just like I said before, you’re:

  1. Clear in your intentions for data use and retention. Why are you gathering that data? For what purpose?
  2. You need to be upfront with your customers about how we’re going to use that data. How’s it going to be stored? What’s it going to be used for? And ensure that they’re safe and secure
  3. Prepared to let your customers opt-out if they choose, and
  4. That you’re ready to protect that data from the folks who want to get their hands on those crown jewels for their own purposes.

Because, it’s a pretty safe bet that before too long, Facebook’s data problem — and Google’s data problem and Equifax’s data problem — are gonna turn out to be your data problem too.

Conclusion

Now looking at the clock on the wall we are out of time for this week. I do want to remind you that you can find the show notes for today's episode as well as an archive of all episodes by going to Tim Peter.com/podcast. Again that's Tim Peter.com/podcast. Just look for episode 203. And while you're there you can click on the subscribe link in any of the episodes you find so you get us delivered to your favorite podcatcher every single week. You can also subscribe in iTunes or the Google Play Music store or Stitcher Radio or whatever your favorite podcatcher happens to be. Just do a search for Tim Peter Thinks, Tim Peter Thinks Out Loud, or plain old Thinks Out Loud, we should show up for any of those. And if you'd be willing to provide a rating on iTunes, the Google Play Store, or Stitcher Radio while you're there, I would really appreciate it. You can also contact me by going to Facebook.com/TimPeterAssociates, on Twitter using the Twitter handle @tcpeter, or via email by emailing podcast@TimPeter.com again that's podcast@TimPeter.com. With that I want to say thanks again for tuning in, I really do appreciate it. I hope you have a fantastic weekend, a great week ahead, and I will look forward to talking with you back here on Thinks Out Loud again next week. Until then take care everybody.