A few weeks back, our man in Europe, Philipp Kehler gave this presentation to the good folks at the stream2007 conference Athens. If you haven’t heard of the streams before, it’s well worth checking out: lots of smart people came together and had a great time.
We talked about Attention profiles. With all the hub-bub around Facebook, do you think your social graph is valuable? Bah. Those are just relationships. That’s useful data, but not critical.
Your attention profile is everything you DO online. Your intents and your actions. Your attention profile has substantial financial rewards that sites are monetizing today.
Whether we like it our not, our Attention profile is being harvested by lots of sites out there, some better than others. Search engines are clearly in a position to gather the most data, but any site that is keeping log files is waiting for the (software) that will let them piece together your history to their financial benefit.
If a site can serve me personalized data or targeted ads in a fraction of a second, do I have a right to know what they know about me? Should I get a copy of that data? Should I be able to opt out of targeted advertising and still get to use the service?
We argue for transparency and portability, not fear.
One sanity check might be: if a site doesn’t trust you with a easily downloadable copy of what they know about you, maybe you shouldn’t trust them with your attention data.
This deck is really more about asking questions than having all the answers. Comments welcome–
(Note: the “transcript” aka slide notes, is only available if you click through to the slideshare page, and scroll to the bottom of the page. It’s probably better to view the deck from there, since much of the descriptive text is ONLY on the transcript.)