Twenty years ago, the thought of there being a profession called Data Manager probably would have sounded like something from an episode of Star Trek. However, with today’s ever-growing abundance of online profiles, it not only exists, but seems (for some) like a real necessity. So, are data management sites the next big thing? Or are they just another inconvenience to be added to the already-overwhelming number of accounts held by today’s average consumer? In her article for AdWeek, Ki Mae Heussner aims to find out.
According to Heussner, there are already several web-based applications out there (including Personal and the brand new Singly) where users can create an account to help them track their online movement, and even pick and choose which bits of information to share with others. “For example,” she writes, “a user could privately share recent baby-related purchases with a sister or ask a friend for a dogsitter’s phone number.”
The concept of using these data-management websites as a sort of marketplace tool is all well-and-good, but what I would be concerned about (and maybe this is simply the paranoia of someone who often fondly remembers a simpler time when personal information was stored either in a locked filing cabinet, or God-forbid, in one’s own memory) is who else has access to the information. As we have a tendency to do with most things, it’s only a matter of time before advertisers or other third parties see an opportunity for obtaining information about their target audience, and sink their talons in. Regardless of the site’s name, no data entered online is ever truly ‘personal.’