Can I call you Link? I fell like I’ve known you for years. I was telling people to add Slideshare to their LinkedIn profile four years ago. Five years ago I wanted our senior staff to use LinkedIn instead of the “people” page on our site.
I think I’ve written about LinkedIn over 20 times. This post, the 10 things you can do on LinkedIn right now was so popular it received dozens of blog spam posts about Good Credit (which I changed to Bad Credit).
Anyway, back to my letter. Thanks for adding “majors” and “skills” to the /edu/ section.
You have one of the most awesome databases on the Internet. You are the outcome proof of Colleges and Universities. What do you want to do with a History degree? Why, just click History.
Want to know what kind of skills you’ll learn? Click major and see the skills. It is the perfect tool for prospective students. It is also the perfect tool for alumni. That would be why there are 19,000+ of them on LinkedIn.
Here’s the thing though: students don’t see the value. A student goes to a Liberal Arts school and does more than get a history degree. They acquire skills. They participate in activities. They become complete people able to accomplish almost anything in the real world.
The schools have that data.
So here’s a thought: what if schools could feed LinkedIn the activity and accomplishment data to your database? This would encourage students to get a profile, while also showcasing the value proposition of an education. Especially a residential Liberal Arts education.
Additionally, the profile could have a College approved stamp on it, meaning the data on the profile is certified.
LinkedIn, you’re awesome for people who have “work experience.” I think you can be awesome for people who have “College experience.” You might not need help, but I’m offering it.
Thanks to Google, buyers are easy to spot – when I was looking to buy black socks recently, I googled “black socks”, fought the urge to read about Shoeless Joe (did you mean black sox? Google asked sheepishly), and bought some black socks.
Google sells adwords around the term “black socks,” and perhaps “black sox,” because marketers only pay for the click. For someone selling back socks, a click on a Google search for black sox is basically a sale. That is the reason all the people at Google are gazillioanires.
On the other side of the generalization is everyone else. I rather glibly called them “shoppers”, but we also call them people who might be inclined to buy stuff at a later date. As you can see, that’s a pretty long title, and makes for the planet.
Buyers go to Google, then to a place to buy things. Google isn’t letting go of this market. They own it, have built an amazing Googleplex (I visited, I know) with the proceeds, and now want to make drivable cars and solve other world problems.
So what if a different company could predict what you might buy?
The Facebook “like” button is an attempt to predict your desires.
Here’s how it would work. A person writes on their profile that they like “beer”. That person then goes to the internet, still logged into Facebook, and is shown a beer ad (Facebook knows they’re the right age, they tell Facebook their age.)
Ads become relevant to desires. We can already do that on the Facebook platform. We can boost content to people in New York who like Yogurt and have kids under 3.
Imagine a time when that ad is on ESPN and is no longer a quant boost, but an actual ad.
In theory, the more a person “likes” on Facebook, the more data sets marketers can use to advertise to them.
We marketing folk can already use this data. If a marketer has an idea about what their target market (shopper) likes, then Facebook can tell them how many people are out there.
When Facebook launches their ad platform (and they will), we’ll have another option for “shopper” marketing. Google wins the buyer market, Facebook wins the internet.
As the author of a blog called “People Like to Share”, I often think about the implications for marketing for people sharing. As a marketer, I’m the beneficiary of the notion that if the product is free, you are the product.
As a consumer, I think about my own privacy and security online.
Last summer I moderated a panel with some very knowledgable people around privacy and security. I tried to break it down to a few different points.
Security. Essentially, this is the role the consumer has in keeping their data secure. From effective passwords to being very conservative with sharing data. The experts I talked to said never save credit card data with a website. The convenience of not having to type in a credit card is not worth the risk of the company getting hacked.
Data. All the likes, check-ins, photos and status updates are data points. Those data points are being collected by companies like Facebook and Google to create detailed profiles of people. On the surface, this isn’t bad. They are using this data to deliver more relevant advertising. For example, I can deliver a message to liberal arts graduates with a 13-17 year old in their household. I can do that because people have thoughtfully told Facebook this data.
Are we making the right privacy choices?
The value exchange is an important element of this debate. I’m not sure people understand the value equation of giving and receiving. 10 years ago, we guarded our e-mail addresses from brands we trusted. Now, we offer so much public information for utility that isn’t even clearly defined. We currently post data online for likes, karma, RT’s and the like. These are “Internet points” that help us build a valuable community while also giving us the good feeling of positive reinforcement (that’s a great picture Matt, your kids are so cute.)
We share like crazy, but do we see value in return?
We’re currently in an interesting worldwide experiment where we offer up massive amounts of personal; data for utility. And while you don’t have to go far to find people who worry about the consequences of giving away all this data, we honestly don’t know the ramifications of being fully open. Perhaps the only cost is more relevant ads. Perhaps the cost is more dire: a warehouse the size of five massive big box stores creating a dossier of data about every person.
The President of the Unites States 40 years from now will most-likely have a picture of his or her first poopy available on the Internet. Maybe we’ll learn that he or she didn’t walk until they were two? Maybe we’ll learn he or she had a serious heart operation when they were five because the mom posted about it on Facebook.
Sound crazy? Maybe, but I’m keenly aware that if my daughter ever seems on track to be president, it will be impossible to clean the internet of images of her. There’s no delete button on the Internet. So people will find images of her first poop, her first steps, and her first bath.
What do you think? How much do you wonder about privacy?
Also, what do you think of Ted Talks? What podcasts do you like?