Weird new social-media trend: retail voyeurism

Picture 4I am a hypocrite. I didn’t start out that way, but Blippy, the latest oversharing service, has turned me into just that. As the editor of a social-media news site, social media evangelism—in all of its many incarnations—is my game. But there’s something about this new consumer voyeur service that makes me feel just a bit… icky. Blippy launched at the beginning of the year and the service lets users share their online purchases from merchants like iTunes, Netflix, Amazon and quite a few others. Blippy stores users’ credit card information; users can compare notes, retweet the info and spam the feeds of their so-called friends on Facebook. I had to see this thing, so I signed up. But it was a move I will most assuredly come to regret.

I signed up through my Twitter account (you also can do it through Facebook). Out of my 256 followers, it turned out that only a single one had his account attached to the service too. His purchases? The majority were made through iTunes. Innocent enough, I guess.

But my skepticism comes about as the service expands. Attaching my account to Blippy brings to mind that moment of terror when I discovered that Google tracks the history of all of your searches as long as you’re signed into your Google account. I haven’t signed-in to the damned thing since. Just possibly, I may need to make a purchase here or there that I’d like to keep private. And I can almost guarantee that one day, I’ll forget to turn Blippy off or just start deleting or ignoring the notifications out of habit. Then what?

Foursquare is currently the hottest TMI tool in the social media world. And while I’m not necessarily comfortable letting the world see me check in to 67 Burger more than twice in a week, I prefer that to outing my purchases. I mean, if trash and purchases didn’t reveal nearly everything about a person’s psyche, National Enquirer wouldn’t be one of the only paper rags not in immediate risk of extinction.

And here’s another thing: Aren’t we just on this side of a recession? In reality, how much could I share with my friends anyway, other than the $1 candy bar I just bought from the bodega? Though I don’t think the place has an online presence. Yet.

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