Are you the product today? Heck Yeah!

In the past two weeks, many people have jumped on the bandwagon launched by Will Oremus’ article “Are You Really the Product? The history of a dangerous idea.” In a nutshell, Oremus argues that the “If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product,” aphorism doesn’t really apply in the case of Facebook.

Gini and Joe have different perspectives on this. Gini sees a lot of value in Oremus’ arguments. Joe thinks that his arguments are beguiling, but convoluted, bringing us to the same conclusion: “If you aren’t paying for it with money, you are paying for it in other ways.” Ultimately, he who pays for something sets the terms.

Don’t fall into the trap of believing this is an expression of powerlessness. In fact, as Joe sees it, it is a call to action.

So, what can we do about it?

First, don’t think about recreating Facebook or finding a viable Facebook competitor. Facebook has reached dominance and will not be challenged until it is broken up. (Remember the good things that followed on the AT&T break up in the 1980s? Basically, it created the opportunity that became Silicon Valley.)

Instead, think about the more selective, specialized things that we want to do, connections that we want to make, networks we want to create, that reflect our actual interests. Think about why so many people see Slack as their social platform. Why we love using Apple Messages to create groups of friends for sharing. Places that will give us the dignity and respect that we want. That will be geared to us. Not their advertising model. And places that we are prepared to pay for.

Don’t fight Facebook. Go outside of and beyond Facebook.

LinkedIn at 15

LinkedIn. Can it really be 15 years old? It seems like only yesterday we first met.

LinkedIn is not as big as Facebook. It doesn’t sit at the middle of the news cycle like Twitter. And it doesn’t have the love directed at Instagram. But it is older than all of these social networks – and it occupies a unique place for business. We talk about how it has changed over the years and our ongoing love/hate relationship with it.


Are You Really the Product? The history of a dangerous idea, Will Oremus

LinkedIn Turns 15, Allen Blue


It’s your turn.

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Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

Creative Commons Licence
Are you really the product? Heck Yeah! by Joseph Thornley, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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