What Do Your Tweets Say About You?

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I’m adding this article to the list of other recent articles and news I’ve come across lately that is further exemplifying the fact that I am being watched. Why do I think this? Am I overly paranoid and should I go see a psychiatrist, perhaps just institutionalize myself now?

“Data being what they are, though, things may be a little more complicated than that. A new paper from IBM research claims to have created an algorithm that can predict a user’s location, at the city level, based on his or her most recent tweets. With nearly 70 percent accuracy. And without the help of geotags.

I’m well aware that by being on Twitter people who are from the same area may be able to figure out that I am too. People recognize names, and IBM’s algorithm makes sense. What interests me most is why my location is of enough importance that they want to create invest research dollars to find it. Marketing tactics is the primary reason. Which is fine. But like every big breakthrough this algorithm will eventually make its way into the hands of the average person. Think about GPS and security alarms and cameras. When they first started out they were only of governmental and corporate importance, now they are average, everyday person objects.

Marketers can have my location to feed me the ads I want to see. But when this algorithm improves even further, then what? Do I need my job to know where I really am when I call in sick? Will I want to know where my kids are when they say they’re going to a friends house? Do I even want marketers knowing this? Shouldn’t that be my choice? If I’m actively on Twitter, then no, it’s not my choice. Yes, I have the choice to be on Twitter, but our everyday social media and oftentimes personal social outlets are taking on a new purpose. It’s not a bad thing. But it’s something to be aware of. For the rest of time our digital lives are going to be almost completely intertwined with our digital lives. It is only naiive to think otherwise.


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