Imagine living in a glass house without paying any rent.
Imagine this glass house located on a busy street in a big town.
Unless you’re an exhibitionist, you probably wouldn’t be amused.
As a matter of fact, you wouldn’t move in in the first place.
Now imagine that everything said inside would be heard outside.
Imagine your “landlord“ recording everything you say and do.
Imagine your “landlord“ then selling that information to advertisers.
Imagine these advertisers putting up ads around your glass house.
Inconceivable offline, but common practice online.
Last but not least, imagine moving around the glass house without any clothes on.
How long before you’d be arrested?
Putting all your private, personal information on public display online is welcome.
Doing the same with your private parts is not, neither on- nor off-line.
Isn’t that somewhat hypocritical?
Or is it because they haven’t figured out how to monetize the latter yet?
“A few years ago, users of Internet services began to realize that when an online
service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product.
But at Apple, we believe a great customer experience
shouldn’t come at the expense of your privacy“
says Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc.
Are we seriously contemplating following the false prophets,
who try to talk us into believing that privacy is dead?
Let’s face it, social networks are also surveillance networks,
the social element often being nothing but the bait to lure
data suppliers and guinea pigs, both also known as users.
“I hate victims, who respect their executioners“.
Anyone remember Jean Paul Sartre?
Privacy is not dead, there’s just no room for it in the business models of many
companies today. But business models are not sacrosanct, remember?
Privacy is a fundamental human right, even though numerous governments and
companies seem to disagree. Giving up our privacy would be synonymous with
opening Pandora’s Box, as other human rights would disappear sooner or
later as well. Not long, before free societies became a thing of the past too.
““Well,“ said Pooh, “what I like best …“ and then he had to stop
and think. Because although eating honey was a very good
thing to do, there was a moment just before you began
to eat it which was even better than when you were,
but he didn’t know what it was called.”
(A.A. Milne: Winnie-the-Pooh)
Do we remember the thrill of anticipation? The times,
when gratification was not just a click away?
Anticipation is an integral part of the experience, instant gratification
reduces its value. After a while we become bored clicking for stuff
we don’t really need. Clicking becomes a purpose in itself.
“There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation“
said the “Master of Suspense” Alfred Hitchcock.
Is a clicked-through life without suspense really
more exciting, let alone rewarding?
I read a very interesting article written by Shoshana Zuboff titled A Digital Declaration in the FAZ today. Quite long, but definitely worth the time.
“The real road to serfdom is to be persuaded that the declarations of democracy
we have inherited are no longer relevant to a digital future.
These have been inscribed in our souls, and if we leave
them behind – we abandon the best part of ourselves”.
On one hand, I don’t like the word “consumer“, when used to describe human beings.
Things consume, like a car that consumes fuel and oil for example.
But we are not things, we are human beings. In my opinion, the use of the word
“consumer“ in a human context is therefore degrading, even discriminatory.
On the other hand, we’re all too often happy to indiscriminately consume junk,
as long as it is cheap. And as long as we do that, we’ll be treated like “consumers“.
In reality, we are clients, customers or patrons and should behave accordingly.
And yes, we have an ROI too. And we should also have an ROE. More about that later.
“Fire gave us power. Gossip helped us cooperate. Agriculture made us hungry for more.
Mythology maintained law and order. Money gave us something we can really trust.
Contradictions created culture. Science made us deadly“.
Sapiens – A brief history of humankind
A wonderful and important book written by Yuval Noah Harari
Turbocharged by globalization, a massive influx of inventions has resulted
in a myriad of new products and services, which have led us into the
Age of Consumerism.
The temples of consumption have replaced Circus Maximus. As early as 1956,
the social psychologist Erich Fromm observed that
“People are motivated by mass suggestion, their aim is in producing
and consuming more, as purposes in themselves“.
In these temples of consumption, many have lost their orientation, as
well as their freedom, having to live on credit in order to
finance their consumption habits.
They are addicted.
Instant gratification, which has turned us into indiscriminate
consumers, is the name of the game for generation
bargain hunter. This incidentally is the same generation,
which moans about short-termism in business.