Data worth spreading: Why I joined Research Lifestreaming

I just signed up for Research Lifestreaming by Harris Interactive.

This multi-pronged approach to marketing data amalgamation invites intrigue, curiosity, resistance.. I have chosen to give a company the right to access my documented activity across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN and WordPress.  They gather information such as posts, my  interactions on facebook, my complete profile information, photos, videos..and no doubt much more.  This is used to trend character attributes and habits, which allows Harris Interactive to profile individuals into groups, such as leaders and followers, based on proprietary algorithms.

The capabilities of Research Lifestreaming are further explained here.  Collected data lends to the creation of surveys and two-way interactions that are tailored to the hundreds of categorizations into which an individual may fall.  Harris Interactive claims this leads to “comprehensive, three-dimensional knowledge of WHO the individual REALLY is.”  Ambitious. Fascinating.

For years I have wanted to see my webdata analyzed and integrated into a cohesive whole.  Now that the opportunity arises, I take it, but not without hesitation.  I wonder how much is recorded; am I signing away web privacy (do they see facebook messages? even, does it matter? etc); have I somehow agreed that my photos, recorded thoughts, ideas and opinions are also the property of this organization?  If you have answers, please share.

On an intellectual property note, read the following:

“By making Monitored Content [data I allow them to compile] available to Harris, you grant Harris, its partners, and clients… the unlimited, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual right to use, copy, display, perform, distribute, adapt, create derivative works, sublicense, and promote such Monitored Content in any medium and any manner whatsoever, as well as the right to transfer the rights of use to third parties without entitlement to compensation.”

Complete terms and conditions available here.  I understand this is a necessary preventative legal measure and I hope that the trust we participants give this organization to handle our valuable datasets compels Harris Interactive to act in an appropriate and honorable manner.

I overcame an initial hoarding of my online activities and decided that this is the TED thing to do.  “Data worth spreading.”  Have at it, Harris Interactive.  I look forward to learning what you learn about myself and the world.   The claimed scope of Research Lifestreaming raises the question:  does an integration of online activity really unveil who a person is?  I think not, but it is an important step in our deepened understanding of how groups and individuals “exist” in this increasingly digital world.

Please share your thoughts, ideas and opinions.  Would you join Research Lifestreaming?

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