Big Data, Data security, privacy and ethical issues of collecting data online.

Your digital persona tells people a great deal about who you are. Just by visiting someone’s Facebook profile you can probably find out their name, where they live, where they are from, where they work, relationship status, sexual orientation, favorite movies, books and music, etc. Now, depending on your privacy settings, this is open for anyone in the world to see – and potential employers are probably actively seeking out this information. I know that in the past potential employers have searched for my Facebook profile. I have nothing to hide on my account, but I still keep my page private for the most part. I want to keep my personal and work life separate. I have never been asked to show my Facebook page to a potential employer in an interview or provide them with my account passwords. Honestly, I would be uncomfortable if I was asked for my password. While this has not happened to me, it is happening to others. According to Facebook’s policy, they prohibit people from sharing their password. But, it is questionable on whether this is illegal and breaks federal law. The articles “Can Employers Legally Ask You for Your Facebook Password When You Apply for a Job?” discusses this issue. Not only, is the legality of this debatable, but it can also lead to illegal discriminatory acts based on the information your profile displays. Mashable published the article “What to Do When A Potential Employer Asks for Your Facebook Password” to help people learn how to handle this situation.

But, this isn’t all about the legal issues of employers asking for your social media password. That is a whole controversy that could be heavily debated on its own. We are all publishing information about ourselves, big data, online. How much does the majority of people know about data security, privacy and ethical issues behind this. It wasn’t until I read I read “Instagram can now sell your photos for ads” on CNN Money that I knew about Instagram’s policy about selling your photos. I was shocked to read this because this is a person’s work of art, their masterpiece. It’s their property. They should own the rights to it. I took a class on mass media law and we discussed intellectual property in great detail among many other things, and to me it seems like that should be illegal for Instagram to do. People accessing big data and a person’s privacy is full of controversy. A digital heart monitor is another topic that questions who owns the rights to a patients digital footprint and who should control that information. You have to jump through hoops to access health files because of the strict laws the US has in place. But implants and new technologies like the one discussed in “Heart Gadgets Test Privacy-Law Limits” are putting these laws to the test.

Clearly, there are ethical issues behind the privacy of big data, what are your thoughts on the matter?

Have you ever been asked to provide an employer with your Facebook password, or any password?

Were you aware of Instagram’s policy? What are your thoughts on it?


Information Aggregators

It is easier than ever to find out new information or share your own personal ideas nowadays because of the advancement of technology. But this information, while appreciated by everyone, is even more valued by marketers. According to the whitepaper article “From Information to Audience – The Emerging Marketing Data Use Cases,” this is probably the most significant commercial opportunity since the World Wide Web emerged. The ability to receive “big data” allows marketers to better understand consumer thoughts, meet the needs of consumers at the perfect time, and create and maintain long-term consumer relationships.

This big data can be obtained through various platforms like news websites, blogs, Facebook, and Twitter among many other methods. Along with that, anyone with access to the Internet can contribute to this data production. Consumers share thoughts on brands and products while also spreading industry and company information. It is key for marketers to understand this information. But, because anyone can share information through virtually any platform, it is essential to weed through the information to figure out what is actually reliable and use it to make customers happy and a profit.

The Whitepaper article included an example involving Catalina Marketing and how this company used the data with their clients. This marketing firm used sales information from both online as well as offline, making it easier to really comprehend what the data is showing.



It is clear how these studies are beneficial for marketers, but do you think these studies are useful for consumers as well?

What is the best way for a company to take advantage of all of the “big data” online?

Message Testing

The ultimate goal: a successful advertising campaign to gain some type of positive reaction.

But, how do you reach this goal? Advertisers must test their messages to different audiences to make sure they are going to get the best results and are sending a good message. Last year I took an advertising campaigns class at the University of Florida. It was a semester-long class where we had to create a campaign for Eastern Florida State College (formerly Brevard Community College). From the secondary research, primary research, and creative design we did it all – and we won the best creative campaign in the class. In fact, some of our concepts are being used in the current rebranding. But this definitely wasn’t easy. Once we nailed down a few of our ideas we held some focus groups to test our message. We wanted to make sure that we were accurately targeting our audience and sending the right message. While this was only a school project and our message testing was done on a much smaller scale (and probably couldn’t be generalized), we would not have won without testing our message.

The article Developing Media Interventions to Reduce Household Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption discusses the message testing the city of Philadelphia conducted to test a media campaign they launched to reduce the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. The goal of the city of Philadelphia was to help combat childhood obesity. Like my group did for our project, the city also held focus groups to decide what mediums to place their advertisements on and four potential media messages developed from this. These results were key for this campaign to be successful because otherwise it could have sent an incorrect message, targeted the wrong audience, or just be a poor campaign overall.

Culture also plays a role in advertising.

“Culture is the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one group from another.” – Geert Hofstede

When I studied abroad in Italy I read one of Hofstede’s books to understand how cultures differed in different countries as well as how advertising differed as well. While I was reading “Online consumer behavior: Comparing Canadian and Chinese website visitors” I thought about what I read in Hofstede’s book and reflected back to what I learned in that class. Knowing how two cultures differ and how their advertising differs will make you produce very different advertisements for each country. I found this YouTube video that shows McDonald’s commercials in different countries – What do you think about how they altered their message for different cultures?


1. Do you think it is important to take cultural differences into considerations when designing a website or creating an advertisement? What are some examples?

2. Does you company conduct some sort of message testing before publicly displaying a message?

3. What are some different ways you can test your message?