You’ve always been careful to protect information on your Facebook profile. Your political views and wall are only available to your closest friends. Your photo albums show you sipping tea in tweed jackets – those photos of you playing beer pong were scrubbed long ago. But you’ve never been too concerned that anyone who Googles you can see a list of your friends. After all, what can a list of your friends tell a stranger about you anyway?
A lot, it turns out. Fast Company just published a fascinating piece on its blog about the mapping of social network data, a growing facet of the practice called Social Media Monitoring (SMM). SMM is the logical confluence of two trends: an advertising-supported Internet that has a voracious appetite for information about consumers in order to deliver targeted ads and a rapid increase in the amount of information individuals make available online, mainly through social networking. As CDT Vice President Jim Dempsey told Fast Company, “It's only logical that marketers would be looking for value in that information.”
Fast Company focused on Rapleaf, a San Francisco-based company that consolidates publicly available information about your Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and Amazon.com book reviews. Marketers' assessments of you can be influenced not only by what you reveal online, but also by what is known about your online friends, such as their purchasing habits and credit scores.
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