Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you already know that information mining is the new gold rush. Fine. Whatever. You can look at it two ways: try to live off the grid, attempt to compartmentalize your personal information and keep it off the internet, use different accounts, computers, networks, use burner phones, go on eBay and buy a telegraph machine and start working on your Morse code….
Or deal with it in a different way. Instead of feeling under siege, powerless, afraid, and unable to control who gets to see your stuff, flip that record over and throw it ALL out there. I’m not talking about divulging your passwords, social security number, tally of romantic partners, or secret celebrity crush. But just think about it framed up like the economic theory of supply and demand. The more that’s out there, the less valuable it is. And since virtually everyone, and certainly 100% of those reading this post, have put at least some part of themselves out in the public sphere via modern technology, be it through a mortgage, bank account, social media account, email, etc., I say just GO FOR IT. Clearly, I am. LOL.
Having said that, common sense is, of course, key. If you’re going on vacation, don’t announce it. If you are a child or teenager, be VERY aware that the “totes cute” 14 year old boy with the Bieber haircut is quite possibly a 55 year old hairy, smelly, nose-picking deviant living in his mother’s basement, cursing the internet, looking for a clueless kid.
So now that I’ve given my general opinion about these things, I must admit, these assholes irritate me. Yes, I know. I’m being a hypocrite, maybe. But this company, IHS, which is a major publisher and which I came upon, once again, while doing research on a USGS study on fracking, are PRETTY AUDACIOUS in just talking about how they’re tracking the lot of us to see who is going to pop off about energy issues and start a revolution, or a pesky viral meme. I suppose they’d just hunt you down and snuff you out or something. Just kidding. It would probably be more like a legal or smear campaign against the pipsqueak who dared amplify the general rumblings. And since they admit they cannot detect sarcasm, well, I’m probably pretty safe. But there ARE actually a few good lessons here for those of you who, like me, despise the fossil fuel industry with such a passion:
First of all, you continue to have an impact. Despite recent midterm elections here in the US which made so many of us feel like we were on the invisible side of history, that’s simply not the case. Yes, climate change deniers and the oil industry trolls and assorted sell-outs yell louder and are more slick and savvy, and definitely have more money to throw at this Sentiment business (somehow, always a capital “S”) than the rest of us, but the Twitter police and their crooked lot have their ears to the ground. And they are very busy listening. And those funding this industry are, indeed, scared. If they weren’t, would they spend so much money on such efforts? For example, the gruesome twosome (Koch brothers) are committing to spend $1 billion dollars on the next presidential election alone. The fossil fuel industry sees the writing on the wall and they are desperate to scrub all signs of it out of sight.
Here is one of their “brochures.” It does make you wonder if, somewhere along the line, this became an honorable, valiant type of business, like a preschool or veterinary clinic:
And here is their webpage about their stupid Sentiment Index for the energy sector (If you want to see their Sentiments indices for other issues and countries, here’s the link – https://www.ihs.com/search/results.html?search=sentiment):
The second thing to keep in mind is that social media platforms are truly changing the world and empowering millions, if not billions, of us. They are connecting us. I have written about this, and I often insert this Sentiment (ha) into replies to your comments. There IS a groundswell of Sentiment. And it is very pissed off. Like Naomi Klein writes, do not “look away.” Keep at it.
And be sure to use a LOT of sarcasm, just to mess with them.