One of the things that Blogbridge has allowed me to do is rather dramatically increase the number of feeds I actively track. That includes re-subscribing to Scoble’s new WordPress.com blog.
Yesterday, something came through Scoble’s feed that sent a chill through me. He was talking about how he finally understands “Attention” as described by Steve Gillmor. He proceeds to outline what can only be described as Big Brother, watching everything you do online, for the sole purpose of placing better advertising to beg you to click on links.
You’ve bought some binoculars, and you’re surfing something about football, and Skynet figures out you’re interested in going to a football game, and BOOM it pulls in all kinds of ads for you to click on.
He describes a system of user activity monitoring and analysis so amazingly complex that it could estimate what you’re going to eat for breakfast next Wednesday, and figures the best way to put that to work is to place advertising.
Never mind the privacy issues this raises – the last thing I want is eBay, Google, Amazon.com, Flickr, Blogbridge, and gods know who else conspiring to share what they know about me so that they can attempt to know everything for the purposes of ad placement.
When that happens, I think I’ll just drop off the grid. I’ll have to go through a pretty heavy withdrawal period, and perhaps some kind of Betty Ford clinic would be required, but I’d rather unplug than put up with that kind of invasive (even if only behind the scenes) tracking of my “Attention”. Also, they’d have to keep an eye out for Arnold, trying to take out Skynet before it gains sentience…
Also, Scoble mentioned that he’s “starting to get scared by this kind of world” – and clarifies in the comments that he’s not scared of the implications of this stuff – just that Microsoft may not be in the game. Holy. Crap. Yeah – That’s what I’m scared of. There’s a global network watching me, and Microsoft feels it needs to have it’s finger on the pulse…