Wednesday Grok: Don't be creepy — Twitter sells your old tweets

And Apple confirms iPad 3 briefing

Twitter is like standing in a room with 10,000 other people who are all shouting at each other simultaneously. You're unlikely to come across too many blinding insights at 140 characters at a time, but that's hardly the point of the exercise.

Or, maybe it is. The theory has always held that if you have an infinite number of monkeys bashing away on a keyboard they will eventually produce Shakespearean output. Twitter, with its 100 million primates actively engaged each month, has as good a chance as anyone at testing the rule.

Twitter has decided to sell all your old tweets to research companies for “analysis” — and of course the money will come in handy.

Research outfit DataSift is the first firm allowed into the treasure room and will apparently get access to two years’ worth of tweets, according to the <i>Mail Online</i> . And they will get more than just that. The story also noted that DataSift will get access to the GPS information contained in the user’s history. No need to worry, because apparently if you have tweeted any incriminating or embarrassing pics or quotes, if you delete the tweet from Twitter then DataSift loses access to it also.

That's an easy concession to privacy, but it's probably not going to be enough. As <i>Mashable</i> noted, “The latest revelation is sure to rankle privacy advocates, who have so far focused on Google and Facebook. Both of these companies have been accused of having too free a hand with consumer data.”

Indeed, Facebook and Google get routinely monstered for this kind of lackadaisical approach to your information (well technically it's their information — read the T&C's next time), so it’s hard to imagine the guns won't soon be turned on Twitter.

Mail Online’s article quotes Justin Basini, CEO of data privacy firm Allow: “Marketers will stop at nothing to get hold of your data. This move shows that all those throwaway tweets have suddenly become a rich new revenue stream for twitter, much in the same way that Facebook has monetised its offering. It has taken a stream of consciousness, analysed it, bottled it and sold it for a profit. And the worst thing is you never knew it was going to happen.”

iPad 3 demo coming soon

Finally, it's time to throw away that dusty, ancient iPad 2 now that Apple has confirmed it will demonstrate iPad 3 on March 7 at an event — amid all the usual speculation. There is also a suggestion that at the event the company will also demonstrate the latest updates to Apple TV. The details of the iPad briefing are available in this piece.

For those of you who need your tablets in extra large doses, John Davidson's story published yesterday in the AFR is worth the price of a cup of coffee and will only take 15 minutes of your time. Actually, you won't even need the price of a cup of coffee as the Fin is now giving away its IT content, along with increasing slabs of other content because, you know, giving your gear away for free has worked so well for just about every other newspaper in the world over the last 20 years.

Andrew Birmingham is the CEO of Silicon Gully Investments and is a former associate publisher of the Australia Financial Review.

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