#9 – Are analytics worrisome?

What, really, are the effects of having your information held hostage online? The digital era is not the first time that people have readily given away personal information to corporations and anonymous crowds – perhaps this idea stems from my lack of understanding of the pre-2000s, but initially upon reading the week 9 process post prompt, I did wonder how giving your analytics information is different from giving your home address to a newspaper company.

Perhaps the key difference for this era is the intent behind the collection of information, which, outwardly, seems to have become more evil than a few decades ago. Doxxing is one usage that comes to mind; on the less extreme side, for bloggers, we would be using analytics information to keep our audience on our site for longer, or more frequently. We want to use data to try to take up time in an audience’s day – the intent of this is not inherently evil, I think, but when considering the landscape of a person’s digital life, it’s safe to assume that we become one of the multiple platforms that are making data-informed decisions to grab someone’s attention, which can be troubling.

Ultimately however, I do think that analytics alone is not enough for a blog to be a source of concern for a person. While data does help grow an audience, it’s up to the blogger to know how to use it to generate value for the audience – which might involve using the data in a predatory manner.