Monthly Archives: October 2010

the web and our evolving sense of self privacy

John Battelle (first editor-in-chief of Wired) has written a very thoughtful piece on how our sense of self and privacy is evolving on the web. it begins as follows:
Are we are evolving our contract with society through our increasing interactions with digital platforms, and in particular, through what we’ve come to call the web?
I believe the answer is yes. I’m fascinated with how our society’s new norms and mores are developing – as well as the architectural patterns which emerge as we build what, at first blush, feels like a rather chaotic jumble of companies, platforms, services, devices and behaviors.
Here’s one major architectural pattern I’ve noticed: the emergence of two distinct territories across the web landscape. One I’ll call the “Dependent Web,” the other is its converse: The “Independent Web.”
The Dependent Web is dominated by companies that deliver services, content and advertising based on who that service believes you to be: What you see on these sites “depends” on their proprietary model of your identity, including what you’ve done in the past, what you’re doing right now, what “cohorts” you might fall into based on third- or first-party data and algorithms, and any number of other robust signals.
The Independent Web, for the most part, does not shift its content or services based on who you are. However, in the past few years, a large group of these sites have begun to use Dependent Web algorithms and services to deliver advertising based on who you are.