You Are Being Watched

A few weeks ago, I commented on Twitter that I was thinking about migrating from one product to a newly released product. It’s the sort of thing you do all the time, right? You wonder aloud: “Ooh, new product X looks interesting - I wonder if it would solve my problems better than product Y?” No big deal.

So I was a little surprised to receive an email from the first vendor, within 24 hours, wanting to talk more about why their product was great, and why I should stick with them. I had no previous contact with them, and at that time I hadn’t launched this site. Presumably they looked at my Twitter profile, found, went there and found my contact details. It’s not like I keep my identity a secret - hey if you want to email me, go right ahead.

I would like to make clear that I don’t have a problem with this company’s approach, it was entirely reasonable - but I still found it all slightly weird. I had not deliberately reached out to them, as I sometimes do on Twitter. I had simply mentioned them in passing. But they were paying attention to various social media outlets, monitoring for any mention of their company and products. They were then actively investigating the people making those comments, finding who they were, who they worked for, what they did, and how to get in contact with them.

Fundamentally it’s a reminder of something we should all know about the Internet: You are being watched. Not only are your actions broadcast for all to see, they are recorded for anyone to look at, anytime they choose. We’d best pay attention to what we say, and make sure we can back things up. I’d also better make sure I have a good story in place should I end up working for one of the companies I’ve publicly disparaged in the past. Now that could get awkward…