You've probably heard everyone from bloggers to writers to watchdog groups decrying the fact that, when it comes to Facebook, Google or Twitter, you're not the customer, you're the product.
It's true, after all. These companies make their money by selling advertising space and by collecting and selling your personal data. The more data they collect from you, the more money they make. Everything from your Google search history to your favourite books and movies listed on your Facebook profile is gold to companies who have figured out how to turn this into a profitable revenue model.
People have been decrying this for years. When Mark Zuckerberg declared – almost two years ago – that the age of privacy is dead, he was skewered by the media almost as badly as his movie version was in The Social Network. After all, nobody likes to feel like the product. It's demoralizing, right?
Maybe. But maybe not. There have got to be some benefits to being the product. So for my 2012 New Year's Resolution, I've decided to make peace with the whole concept. After all, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
Therefore, here are my top 5 (ever so slightly tongue-in-cheek) reasons why Being The Product isn't so bad, and is actually kind of cool: