Two tech girls walk into a bar . . .
They order craft beers, retire to a table with a colleague, and talk shop. An eavesdropper walks by and instagrams them to a popular tech-blog. At sunrise one of them is fired. Why? (Hint: It wasn’t for drinking on the job)
It turns out the posted photo included an attribution of “hurtful speech.” Social whacking is being used now by some as a tactic in the battle for hearts and minds. In their strange dystopian world, social-tech is a tool of inquisition, and social media-ites the self-appointed ecclesiastical tribunals.
Against this bizarre backdrop, regular business executives are actually beginning to view social technology infrastructure as a compelling architecture for exposing hidden processes in the firm—processes that have no inherent right to privacy. Mundane things like meter tweets and status updates. Social Web sites, on the other hand, depend on private information shared on a voluntary basis for 100% of their content. Without privacy, people have nothing to share and the social business model will fail when the content dries-up. Social is totally dependent on the preservation of privacy.
So far, incidents like the tech girls have been met with silence by the very firms who have the most interest in preserving privacy. And in Promethean acts of self-destruction some social media companies even engage in inquisitions themselves. The logical response to all this is inescapable: Do Not Share. And that will be the end of social on the Web.
Inquisitions can’t really destroy privacy no matter how hard they try. It’s easy to imagine The Day After when people retreat to a world only they control. But it’s difficult to imagine the world as a better place when nothing is shared.
To know when privacy should be preserved, we should first ask ourselves….is it a process, or a human being?
“Zero Privacy” refers to Scott McNealy’s famous ridiculing in 1999 of concerns about privacy on the Web (“There is zero privacy, get over it.”)
Scott McNealy had never heard of social media in 1999 so he couldn’t imagine how much the Web would come to depend on privacy
No one in social media today even knows who Scott McNealy was or that the entire internet ran on his servers back in the 90s
The tech girls incident actually happened at PyCon 2013 (with changes to protect privacy)
A “social technology infrastructure” is a notification architecture for the firm where processes have micro-blogging technology embedded that “tweet” status autonomously to corporate subscriber robots and real people
Done right, social technology is the most transformational technology for business…ever…whether the social Web survives or not