It appears the privacy debates are evolving in tandem with Social Media morphing into its next iteration, the Semantic Web. As we struggle to redefine privacy and transparency, how we access and utilize data will become a much more robust enterprise. Concurrently, as Facebook's Open Graph and "Like" buttons begin to define who we are, the essence of hyperlinks are metamorphosing into peoplelinks.
Brian SBrian Solisolis' report titled "Facebook and the New Age of Privacy," states that "by placing the power of "Likes" within clicking distance, users can literally set the foundation for the content and people to which they're introduced in Facebook and at partner sites."
Peoplelinks, according to Solis are changing the course of "personalized marketing and advertising and the improvement of products and services based on the choice words and sentiments shared by like-minded groups and influential people online."
However, Tony Shaw, publisher of the Semantic Universe Journal sees "marketers deriving little values from much of the data they collect, because it is largely unconnected and disorganized." In his estimation, it is the emergence of the Semantic Web that will link and organize date in much more useful and insightful ways.
Differing from the Web 2.0 world of simplistic social relationships and customer engagements, Web 3.0 will allow users to dig deeper and utilize that data as result of being able to access the build-up of data mines over the last decade.
Social Data, according to a Nielson study increased by 82 percent on social sites from December 2008 to December 2009. The increasing prevalence of "Like" buttons all over the Internet, if Facebook has its way will continue to grow exponentially as marketers utilize this semantic tool to make their content more public and sharable.
The irony here is that while 'peoplelinks' will curtail data that is personalized to you, all of this data will eventually become automated to the point that the 'human' element will no longer be doing the heavy lifting. Machines will.
As Facebook leadis the charge domestically, take heed that the U.S. has not made semantic technology a priority. As content and data-mining transition from Social Media to the Semantic Web, most thought leaders are betting on China as the front-runner and the international leader in this space.
In a recent post titled, "Social Media's Transition Into Semantic Web Will Be Led By China," Internet hegemony is being led by the Chinese, followed by the European Union. The U.S. lags far behind in a distant third place.
So while China and Facebook (and potentially Google) fight out who will become the dominant force in this new arena, it is still incumbent on Internet netizens to determine how we will collaborate in this Brave New World. While the debate between privacy and publicness is under the spotlight, it's important for all of us to join the debate and to shape our new world into one we will be comfortable living in.
According to Solis, "without pushing back, we cannot push things forward collaboratively." I couldn't agree more. However, in pushing forward, let's not lose our voice in the debate. Perhaps its better to err on the side of caution than to blindly follow the thought leaders of the day. While there are definitely rewards for participation, living our lives as "open books" for many of us is not acceptable and for others that will acquiesce, it will take a lot of getting use to.