Online Privacy Fears: Does FOMO trump TMI?

The Journal had a big What They Know article series about the growing market for information about online personal info and activities; it cast the vendors that serve the market in a pretty dark light. Earlier this year, TIME magazine ran a similar piece. And, just yesterday, the NY Times had a story How to Fix (or Kill) Web Data about You.

What all of these stories have in common is that they send an alarm about online users' vulnerabilities regarding personal information and privacy. And, if in the process, the most influential of media knock the vendors who serve the industry down a few pegs – well, isn't that the point?

I am not saying it is not a valid issue, and that there aren't information providers who take things too far. But there are also those who play by all of the applicable online privacy and marketing information rules and regulations and offer a valuable service to the marketing and PR industries.

I can't help but thinking, too, that most people really do not concern themselves much with the issues raised.  An article in Sunday's Times discussed social networks and the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) – basically, the angst one gets about missing out on fun while reading others' social media updates. Ironically, FOMO can compel us to share more, not less.

It must not just be FOMO bot other human impulses that compel us to tweet, blog, Facebook, etc. My point is, in a world where we wear our activities, thoughts and opinions on our online sleeves, do people seem to care much about guarding online privacy? Are the media's concerns overstated?

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