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Voices: How much data sharing is too much?


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    VJ Tucker, founder of the startup Curious Science

    - Meg Cramer

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    Leslie Hales, SXSW Volunteer

    - Meg Cramer

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    Alan Navarro, SXSW Volunteer

    - Meg Cramer

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    Luciana Caletti, Brazilian startup Love Mondays

    - Meg Cramer

One of the ongoing conversations at the 2014 SXSW Interactive Festival involves questions and concerns around data and data collection.

How are we trying to use data to live a better life with the help of wearable devices?

How is the government is collecting data and what does that mean about our privacy?

The topic even manifested itself in real-time data from Twitter input into a machine that made custom Oreo cookies. SXSW attendees may be more savvy than the average social media-ite, but they still ask themselves the same questions of when to share data on their activities, and when it's best to keep it to themselves.

VJ Tucker, from a startup called Curious Science, thinks very carefully about what content he adds to the Facebook universe:

"I have a group of friends that can't go to SXSW Interactive and enjoy seeing the panels that I see, so I usually aggregate together all my quotes from the day and put them up... I only try to only put content out there that I feel is compelling to other people. So I don't live tweet everywhere I'm at or anything like that just because it feels like noise in the world instead of anything that's concentrated and compelling."

Southby volunteer Leslie Hales says she uses the typical social media platforms -- Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter -- but she deliberately avoids tagging her location:

"I'm not really on the location grid just because I feel like it's just too much...I don't know if I want everyone knowing where I am every second of the day."

In fact, location sharing came up with visitors and locals alike, as evidenced by SXSW volunteer and Austin-ite Alan Navarro, who says he does not see the benefits of tagging where you are on social media:

"I just don't see that there's a reason for me to put out where my location is online. There's not a real insentive to do that, so I just leave it alone."

Luciana Caletti of the Brazilian startup Love Mondays does not mind adding her location to tweets, as it makes sense to her to highlight the fact that she is at SXSW. She adds, however, that attending Edward Snowden's skyped-in appearance is giving her second thoughts on where her data is going:

"All this data being collected...so far it's fine, but if it falls into the wrong hands in the future, you never know who is going to be in charge of the country. So I am starting to be a bit more concerned."

About the author

Ben Johnson is the host of Marketplace Tech.

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