The quote itself is 12 years old and its accuracy was being discussed since then… All the speculations about Big Data and the way it turned into power games, led to numerous conspiracy theories and enormous scandals: Google knowing everything, the danger around front cameras, the Adblockers abusing your dat for marketing, democracy manipulators like Cambridge Analytica, the data breaches getting popular and also being heard by the Congress, GDPR spamming us more than saving anyone, AI to steal our jobs… Anyways, you know better than me, data wars have began. And these conversations are all related. We are in the middle of an open fire, in horror – desperately trying to keep ourselves safe and survive… Whoever wins, will own all information about us. We’ll be an easy to read book and very open to manipulate.
We trust no one. And we have very good reasons… The idea of ‘data being the new oil’ is scary. And its economy is growing enormously. So many people have suffered because of oil, we are still suffering as well as our planet. Oil didn’t only power economies but wars, terrorism, political corruption, global warming, social injustice… Let’s not find a new ‘oil’ please…
There are initiatives to find a better purpose for Big Data. But even them (eg. this and that) which claim to lead DATA responsibility movement, we cannot know if they are authentic about it or they are there for some competitive agenda. We are being spammed, monitored, abused, followed, annoyed by companies… and they know how to find us, there is nowhere to hide if you are on internet.
People are, and will always be the source of ‘demand’ for big corporations, they are worthy to them as long as they pay for their goods and services. At least – if they have the right qualities to be able to be a part of their Target Group… Companies need to get richer and bigger, ‘growth’ is their goal and it’s clear. So we cannot expect them to be kind to people and let them buy only what they need, under their conditions but not companies’. No they need to feed on people, it is simple.
Interestingly, Advertising was there to help people to see the true intentions of the companies. So as advertisers we were supposed to talk to the needs/wants of consumers and inform them with the right messages about us, our goods and services to convince them to choose us over the substitutes. We were there to tell them: “No, no… we are not just after your money, we are after your love. Therefore we are trying to treat you right”…. Advertising was the most visible tool for transparency. However, when advertising decided that it can outsmart the consumers and pretend as if it cares just for a quick hit & run… the trust started to eradicate.
Now with these new, cheekier ways in Digital Marketing – that relationship in between greedy companies and people is getting worse. People are being funnelled to be interested in, to be acquired and to be retained by companies which have the data power. So as people, we cannot choose the right one, best one, the one we like… but the one which owns more data and makes less mistakes in targeting and retargeting. This is not sustainable.
And we have to change this. Otherwise I’d personally vote for AI to steal my job from me, at least it will hurt less.
Because at the end of the day. We are the people. We are the ‘demand’, who are also working for those companies to collect the data, analyse it, use it in their design processes and in their marketing. We are the ones, who can do the auto-control and share the self criticism. If we are all a bit responsible, there will be no needs for whistleblowers – because there will be no evils.
So there is an opportunity for advertising and advertisers to start building that trust bridges again. Can advertising and advertisers be the advocates of Data Responsibility and find a use for their data for Community’s sake? Can data help us to build a new CSR strategy? Can data save us, instead of slave us?