Uncle Ben’s Advice for Understanding Social Privacy

Uncle Ben was one of my great heroes growing up. He was right up there with Batman, Wonder Woman, and Mickey Mouse. However short his life was in the Spider-Man series, his legacy, and teachings was what helped create the Spider-Man we all know and love today.


With Great Power…

Now how does this apply to you? With the internet being, well, the internet, privacy seems to be more of a luxury than a right. Anything you post can be found, and information given over the internet has the potential of being stolen via hackers (the bad kind, not like growth hackers). This article by Bloomberg Business week says it best,

Adults have long warned kids that if they weren’t careful, questionable behavior would end up on their permanent record. Over the decades, that record has become larger, more searchable, and more available to the public. “-Felix Gillette, Business Week 2013

Let’s dig a little deeper into what privacy means for people. According to this New York Times article, “It’s understanding what happens to your data, and having the ability to control it.” With data being freely given through social media, it seems easy to just get the data you want since it is so easy to access. Apps have used this data by sharing it in order to ‘help’ it’s users find anything from a store they are looking for, to potential dates in a nearby bar. However, having that amount of information out for everyone to see, can be extremely creepy; and really annoying.


Check out this social media experiment done by Jack Vale.


He got all that information from Instagram alone! Should being social have to mean giving up your privacy rights? Where do you define the line of personalization and “creep factor”?


…Comes Great Responsibility

So with all these weary consumers not wanting to share information on the net, how can you, as a marketer, help ease their worries while taking their information? This is where the second half of Uncle Ben’s advice comes in; “responsibility.”  There are quite a few measures you can take to make sure that consumers aren’t feeling creeped out with all the data you are supposedly collecting.

1. Have Users Opt-In: While Spiderman doesn’t usually ask before saving someone, as a company, and a smart marketer, you should. Building a relationship with a consumer is just like building any other relationship: it starts with trust. Make sure the consumer feels comfortable with sharing information with you, and know that you will guard that information with your life. Don’t be like those creepy dating apps that just share your information with the world, ask and then execute. It makes everyone feel more comfortable.

2. Be An Open Book: Let users know what you are collecting and why. The one thing I love about Paypal is that not only do I know they have a lot of encryption software to safeguard my information, they ask me every step of the way if I am sure I want to share a certain tidbit of information. They then explain why they need that information, and what they do with it.  i feel safer because I know why they need my information, and I know exactly what they are using. Snap Chat was able to target this peculiar situation of privacy by allowing someone to see an image or video for only 10 seconds before it is destroyed, making an erasable social media.

3. When your users go, so does their data: Don’t have your users be afraid to delete an app or profile to your business because of the data you have accumulated. Once they are gone, their personal data is as well. Data is constantly changing, and you don;t need to hang on to personal information about a long gone client. Instead, you should focus on why they left.

Ultimately, being given this vast amount of information about people is a big responsibility on your shoulders, and being open, and honest is the best policy to making sure your clients feel safe sharing their information, whether organically or via a social media channel, with you.

“You did good, kid” Wouldn’t you like to hear this from your customers?

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