There was a time when consumers placed a premium on a concept called “privacy.” The pre-social media era may seem long ago now but there was a time when people didn’t broadcast the minutiae of their lives to friends, families, coworkers, and total strangers on Facebook and Twitter, and didn’t leave a trail of data documenting their every opinion and activity for brands to dissect.
Despite today’s loose division between public and private, The Futures Company predicts that the pendulum will eventually swing back in the other direction. In its Technology 2020: Personal Worlds report, The Futures Company looks at the expected impact of technology on everyday life in 2020.
Among the key trends is the renewed emphasis that consumers will place on privacy. Consumers are already demanding more control what personal data is stored on which networks and who can access it for what purpose. They are aware that their online activities form an “information footprint,” one that has great value to brands able to turn personal preferences into tailored marketing strategies.
The dark side of today’s data deluge this is the feeling of being trapped in what Eli Pariser calls “The Filter Bubble,” both the title of his book and an apt description of excessive personalization of the social web where every ad, search result, and news feed mirrors the user’s own interests and opinions. Beyond feeling over-targeted by marketers, other risks of from our data-heavy lifestyles include privacy violations and data theft.
The Futures Company predicts that consumers will reach a place of accommodation, understanding that some openness with personal information may result in a more tailored online experience but that over-sharing is irresponsible. Either way, our interest in sharing photos of our dinner companions to a list of random Twitter followers might seem as dated in 2020 as our initial reluctance to friend past-coworkers on Facebook did back in 2006.