Anonymity is the New Celebrity

Paris Hilton got her Sidekick device hacked into this week and her private world became public knowledge in a matter of minutes. Blogger played host to spyware when you click on "next blog" and it’s their private nightmare. Engineer at Google got fired for airing company strategy on his blog, and Britney Spears comments in a London publication on why she loves that city because it makes her feel anonymous…

There is an interesting phenomenon taking place here. You might not realize it from the millions who will do anything to step in front of a TV camera, but it’s just around the corner. When it is easy for anyone to be accessible to the world either by choice (having a homepage or a blog); or unwillingly (like the Scientology guys who always manage to send me their crap no matter where I’ve lived for the last ten years); the trend is evident. At least it is to me. Privacy will be one of the most coveted possessions of the connection age, and anonymity will be the new celebrity.

Think about it…we approaching a paradigm of civilization where everyone can be known, which is basically one step away from being famous. Given that fame in such a context is only about relevance to a large group at a given point in time. As you are reading this, I’m that kind of famous right now. Now imagine that instead of this blog, it’s an instant video connection that plays on your TV…what then?

Understanding this force at play can lead us to recognize where the next opportunities for personalization, security and privacy lies. We already see the emergence of services like anonymous web browsing through apps like Ghostweb, and other media will not be far behind. What will your customers want most, when their every move is open for contextual analytics? Anonymity just might be more valuable than today’s celebrity wannabes might think…

Helping others helps everyone, including yourself

Isn't it funny that for most companies, selfless acts are often rooted in narcisism? I mean social responsibility is something brands do to look good to their customers and their peers, and more often than not, it is looked on as a necessary expense to maintain that "corporate image".

What if instead, we looked at it pragmatically as a true benefit to ourselves to help others? In a connected world, we are now forced to look at "risk" as a concept that transcends the immediate connection to the far reaching ones (such as in the case of genetic agricultural practices), so why not phillanthropy?

Isn't it true that how I behave with my employees affect how they behave with our customers, and in turn how they behave towards our company/brand? Then especially in the ever shrinking world of connected relationships, shouldn't social responsibility be also looked upon in that way? If I'm in the business of travel, and travelling is perpetuated by increase in communications, and communications are made possible by advances in educational access, then shouldn't I benefit from engineering cause related programs to foster education in underserved areas?

When everything is approaching total connectedness, the smallest of things have profound effect. I believe it is time for business to look at philanthropy as a holistic function necessary for sustainment, and not a myopic function of short lived appearance of being a good neighbor....

© 2006 GROW |