Social Media feels big everywhere and it's certainly feeling big at SXSW. Maybe I got a distorted view from the 21/2 sessions I attended, but a common thread of privacy seemed to overlay all of the discussion. There seems to be a growing recognition in the Social Media community that we are beginning to generate a vast amount and variety of data through Social Media. FourSquare and Gowalla append your identity to places you visit, Facebook links your information to friends and maps are becoming social instruments that show more than just streets and directions, but traces of your travels through a landscape. The good news is that Social Media developers are aware and concerned. Listening to representatives of Social Media location game tools it was clear that they had an understanding of that this is a big issue that they need to deal with. The bad news is that they seem to have no idea where all of this data explosion is going.
Questions of data ownership and transparency have been around for a while. The growth of Social Media is elevating these questions further. What may happen is that we may find that our notions of privacy and identity will be redefined as we continue to use these new tools.