Dell Dad Bans Daughter from Twitter

The internet is a wonderful tool that brings people together. It creates business opportunities that used to be unimaginable. The use of the web has become an integral part of our civilization. Social media is creating a more interconnected world and also a great opportunity for business. But things aren’t as wonderful as they seem, at least not all of the time.

Security Issues

Social media allows a people to inform their followers – and others – of their whereabouts. It leaves an easy-to-find record of where someone has gone and what he or she is doing. Information like this is what allows advertisements on social media to be so effective.  It’s also a big reason as to why social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google Plus are free for users.

According to Mashable today, “The Twitter account of Dell CEO Michael Dell’s daughter Alexa disappeared from the Internet Friday, after one of her Instagram photos was picked up by a popular Tumblr blog.” Being wealthy means that not everyone has good intentions for you.  With wealth and affluence comes the possibility of family members being kidnapped, even if we don’t hear about it often.  Homes can be robbed, harassments can occur, and all sorts of things like this can be made more likely by frequent status updates and information.

But this isn’t just about rich kids on the internet. What was Alexa doing? She was doing what any teenager does with Twitter. “The 17-year-old posted check-ins complete with GPS info, statuses detailing her family’s whereabouts (she posted an invitation to her high school graduation dinner complete with time, data and location…) and photos of her exploits on the family jet.”

Forbes reports that Michael Dell is “rumored to pay $2.7 million annually for protection services.” They also go on to discuss the less-than-safe practices of many other celebrities and their children alike. One would assume that in a celebrity-sized paycheck comes some information about social media. But it’s obvious that people don’t think much about the information they are publishing on the internet.

Implications for Business

As social marketing and the internet continue to expand, the basic issue at hand here will become a more important question for all of us.  That basic issue is privacy and how we handle our personal information.  Social marketing and advertising demand information to be effective. Platforms that rely on advertising revenue make it easy for users to display this information.  It’s how the system works, and it works well for pretty much all parties involved.  People get the benefit of being better connected, and social media companies earn their pay.

I’m not sure what the answer is, but as the web continues to grow, businesses and consumers alike are going to have to create a sort of “happy medium” between openness and privacy.  We can have our cake and eat it too; we just need to be smart about it.

Do you think about your privacy and personal security when you use social media for yourself or your business?

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Patrick currently lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, where he is studying for a Master's Degree in Intercultural Relations. Upon graduation from Penn State in 2008, he spent two years overseas in Kyrgyzstan with the U.S. Peace Corps. While writing is currently his chosen way to put food on the table, he loves fitness and exercise, which he believes makes up for his avid computer gaming habit.

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