The question is not what data can I get or what can I do with it....
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It may or may not be true that social media companies know more about us than our Government. However what is known is that we are generating more data that can be tracked (aka one element of the digital footprint). We know that value comes from how companies analyse this data and then use it to influence you in some purchase decision. To increase the value companies are then trying to close the loop by understanding what influenced you and how you influence your social group.
Johanna Blakley did an excellent TedTalk on the end of gender and how our current views of segmentation only provide a "distorted mirror of life". In summary she says that ridged segmentation based on old school demographics is restrictive as it labels and define us assuming us all have similar behaviour, taste, likes and are predictable - based on your demographics and buckets.
This is however different to Dan Ariely views from "Predictably Irrational" which provides a truism that whilst we would like to think we are unique, we are predictable based on our demographics.
But irrespective of what the outcome is there are a number of buckets that data is falling into: factual (real), behavioural (based on past) and signal (indication about future)
What we all know and love as age, income, sex etc. It tells you who is using/bought or who will use/buy your product or service
Product (Factual, Behavioural)
Gathering data about a specific product or services and then adding recommendation. Think Amazon cross selling "because you like this you will love this"
Referral (Factual, Behavioural, signal)
Think Like button (implicit) on Facebook or a recommendation (explicit) on Amazon. This is an individual providing data about their preferences, experiences and expectations.
Location (Factual, Behavioural, signal)
Where you are when you searched, discovered, gave or received a service. This tells service providers about our route and location and allows providers to tailor offering.
Credit/ financial (Factual, Behavioural)
Service providers now have immediate access to determine if you can pay the bill
Identity/ Persona (Behavioural)
The ability for you to be found. Are you someone who hides in a digital world or are your a public figure.
Influence (Factual, Behavioural)
how are you influenced, who influences you, who do you influence. Are you someone worth VIP treatment?
Intention (Factual, Behavioural, signal)
Something I wrote about in the "My Digital Footprint" extensively - it is the mashup of what you have done, said, passed and purchased to create from your history something that you may want to do, which is guided by your social group, wish lists and your calendar. The output is intent.
Known as lifestyle positioning (Lifestyle, Pain, Brand, Product, or Features.)
Gathering your past behavioural and offering products and services that match
Do you do as you say and do as you do? Is your recommendation worth anything?
Therefore the observation is not "what data is available", nor you will be surprised to learn "what you do with it" but will when you do something with the data to offer a better service "will the user see it as value add, brand enhancing, love it, repeat or be left with some deep creepy feeling that you know something that they did not tell you"
One reasonable outcome could be that based on data (factual, behavioural and signal) analysis we are gambling with "the reputation of the company and brand" and therefore need to determine the propensity to take risk based on the outcomes of getting it wrong. A corporate will sit there asking for a detailed risk assessment and back up plans and will not gamble with the precious and irreplaceable.
The confident start up who has a lower true price of loss in the gamble as they have little that is precious and irreplaceable may gamble big, in the knowledge that the payback is big. Whilst the corporate will proceed on a precautionary principle as there is insufficient evidence or understanding the start-up will push the boundaries of privacy and liberty.
We live in interesting times in regard to your data