How much are your tweets really worth?

By Allyson Meyer
Gwyneth Newbold

Twitter user’s privacy and compensation have been put at risk with Twitter’s recent acquisition of Bluefin Analytics.

Bluefin Analytics is a statistical analysis group that uses Twitter and other social media in order to cater to advertising and television networks.

This recent merger has prompted some questions of privacy and the impact it will have on Twitter users. Along with these concerns comes the question of compensation for valuable information that users provide.

In the UK, Twitter recently described itself as “the shortest distance between you and what interests you most.”

But is this lack of distance encroaching on your privacy?

According to author Lori Andrews in her exposé of social media sites, I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of Privacy, employers and universities are able to access social media posts that users marked as private or have previously deleted.

Though Bluefin’s primary interest is what you watch, does their access to your information end with your television preferences?

This possible lack of user privacy may concern many users who may not want employers, school administrators, and analytic companies accessing their private information.

Along with the privacy concerns come the questions over how much Twitter will profit from the information its users provide.

According to Apple Insider, Bluefin Analytics has been able to raise as much as $20.5 million in funding to date.

The details about the deal between the two companies have not been disclosed, but Business Insider quotes possible projections at close to $50 to $100 million.

As lucrative as this merger may be for advertisers and media giants, will users be compensated for their valuable information?

Some professionals in the media industry, like Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at VivaKi, Rishad Tobaccowala, see this merger as a perfect union.

“As marketers seek to connect social media to paid TV media, Bluefin labs provide an ideal solution” said Tobaccowala.

As lines become even more blurred between personal social media and public marketing and advertising firms, it will take more time and research to see the effects it will have on the consumer.
“It is definitely disconcerting knowing that people have access to your accounts and information. There really seems to be no such thing as a ‘private account’ anymore” said freshman Kaitlin Meyer.

Will this affect USD students, who rely on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media to communicate? Will your privacy be violated or your information used for advertising purposes?

One thing is certain, social media will continue to change as will the influence of Capitalism and its effects on the USD community.