New social media service publishes shopping habits

New social media service publishes shopping habits

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by NewsChannel 36 Staff

WCNC.com

Posted on March 25, 2010 at 5:46 PM

A new service allows users to broadcast everything they buy, where they shop and how much they pay. But why would anyone sign up for such a thing?

Michael Foley says he lives a public life.

"My default is to be transparent," he said.

He signed up for the social media service Blippy.com, broadcasting his Netflix, Amazon, iTunes and checking accounts.

"Most people tell me it's crazy," Foley said. "People think I have my password and my account information out there just for anyone to steal and that's not the case."

Blippy broadcasts what you bought, where you bought it and how much you paid. But you can turn it off.

"If you go out shopping, you can choose to pause your publishing," Foley said.

So why do it? Foley says it creates conversation starting points with new friends.

"They may see I watched a certain movie or downloaded a certain iPhone app and we have background as soon as we meet," said Foley.

Digital media expert Kathy Gill says more people, especially those under 30, are sharing their lives online, and with public records now on the Internet, our privacy has become an illusion.

"To call it a slippery slope, I think we've started sliding," Gill said. "You go to a party and someone takes your picture and posts it on Facebook -- you just got exposed."

Foley says by making his private life public he meets more people and feels safer, too.

"If you have all of your information online and everybody is watching, people can look out for you. It's not just you always looking out for yourself," Foley said.

Foley said Blippy changed his spending habits. He finds himself looking to buy cooler stuff and go to trendier places.

Still, most Blippy users buy mundane items. The top shopping spots are iTunes, Netflix, Amazon, Starbucks, McDonalds and gas stations.

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