Is holding back information in the digital age better? That is the fundamental question in Jeff Jarvis’s book, “Public Parts.”
Jarvis explores the promising ways in which the internet and "publicness" allow us to collaborate and think in new ways — in how we manufacture and market, buy and sell, organize and govern, teach and learn. He also examines the necessity as well as the limits of privacy, in an effort to understand and thus protect it.
“Because I am public I have made new friends and reconnected with old ones. I have received work and made money — including this book and the last. I have tested ideas, spread those ideas and gotten credit (and blame).”
Jeff believes that privacy is being well-protected. His fear is that publicness and its tools are vulnerable to control by others.
We work in an industry where information is sacred. Our ability to be successful depends upon how well we take information, interpret it and, hopefully, create something that meets a need. If it fails, we weren’t “listening correctly.” Without access to data, we are unable to bring forward new insights that open up new opportunities, not only for businesses but for the customers that they serve.
As a society, we’re at a fork in the road with data — are we more optimistic in trusting the people behind our businesses, governments and other organizations to use our data to better our lives? Or, do we fear that these same people to use our data for potentially harmful purposes? The danger in focusing on the second fork is that establishing "rigid" or "extreme" controls doesn’t necessarily prevent misdeeds and can lead to unintended consequences. We’re on the cusp of tremendous change, and we’re hopeful we take the more optimistic path.
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