Oh, Tennessee, I Love You and Other Random Things

–My favorite thing about Tennessee is how, slowly, over time, you start to realize that everyone knows someone you know. I just sent an email to Newscoma because she’s going to run into the brother of a friend of the Butcher’s and I wanted to give her the head’s up. And it tickled me.

Here’s a story so depressing it about made me cry. Most things in here are self-evident–those mountains aren’t ever going to rise again. We destroy it and it’s gone. But one part I think we need to really understand is that mountain-top removal mining is a way for the coal companies to cut back on employees. I just find it depressing that a company can almost always win over people. Sure, they feed you movies and news stories every year or so of some poor shlub who’s able to take on Big Business and Win! As if having those stories makes up for them not really being true for most of us. Companies have more money than you and they will live on, in some iteration, longer than you ever could. Bah, it depresses me.

–Speaking of money and longevity (you can make these kinds of tacky transitions on a blog because there’s no one here to think better of it), have people really been suggesting this in seriousness? People. I swear.

–It’s fun to read what New Yorkers are making of Harold Ford’s run. I’d forgotten than he cast that stupid vote on Schiavo. The whole dynamic is interesting. I mean we’ve certainly seen plenty of cases where politicians pick a place they think they can win from and then run there. But the dynamic always seems to be that, in return, that place has to think that the politician’s star is on the rise somehow, that they can put up with the indignity of having a stranger represent them, if that stranger is going someplace and can drag his constituency along with him.

What I think is so damning for Ford is that no one seems to think his star is still on the rise. I don’t see anyone imagining how it could benefit New Yorkers to elect him. That’s not something you can combat with facts (even if the facts were on his side). It’s just a feeling people have–is the trade off of electing a guy who isn’t even sure if he lives in your state or in Memphis worth the benefits he might bring you? Most people think no.

Facebook. Yes, it’s weird and gross, but clearly the money to be made from Facebook is not just in targeting marketing to you, but in selling the wealth of information you’re giving it for free. Facebook has got to be a marketer’s wet dream, if ways of mining all that information can be found. Which it will be. But it starts with making all that information open and searchable.

I don’t think it’s so much that the age of privacy is over so much as we’re seeing the dawn of the day when lawsuits about who owns your information start flying. Does Facebook own your information, because you put it in their framework? Clearly, the motivations behind this stuff is that they believe yes, they have the right to your information, and the right to profit off of it. Are you, as a user, completely aware that you are handing information that is valuable to them, that they can make money off of, for free? That you are giving them an asset others pay for and seeing no monetary benefit? I’m betting not really.

And once people start to really understand that, I think we’ll see lawsuits over just whose assets those are.


6 thoughts on “Oh, Tennessee, I Love You and Other Random Things

  1. The thing about Ford that’s giving me a gut laugh is how he’s complaining that Schumer is circling the wagons to ensure that he’s shut out of the primary, and that this is tantamount to interfering in the democratic process.

    What makes this especially funny is that Schumer made sure to help to have Rosalind Kurita shut out of the 2006 primary so that Ford could run more or less unopposed. Does “democratic process” mean different things in New York than it does in Tennessee?

  2. re Facebook–you just hit a big reason why I don’t use it.

    I work with data miners, direct marketers and people who develop algorithms to get all that information out of applications like Facebook and it you really understood the extent of information that you’re giving away and revealing, you’d never touch it again.

    WebMD functions pretty much the same way. The service and information are free to the user, but the profit is in informatic marketing data and advertising. Huge $$$.

  3. “the profit is in informatic marketing data and advertising” – that’s why I always (fruitlessly) try to convince friends and family to use sites like medlineplus.gov for health info instead of something like WebMD, which in my mind exists not to inform people about health but to get eyeballs on ads and make money.

  4. Andy, I think we have to guess that there is some magical barrier than exists between here and New York that turns everything topsy turvy once you pass through it. Ha ha ha ha ha.

    As for Facebook, the more I learn about it, the more I foresee lawsuits flying. Don’t get me wrong, I’m squicked out by the data mining, but I’m more squicked out by them monitizing, for themselves, content I think I’m sharing, for free, with people.

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