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On Wednesday 29th April some of Brisbane’s heavy-hitters in the digital space joined ABC Managing Director, Mark Scott to discuss the personalisation of digital media. Part of hub4101’s Disruptive Thinking discussion series.

Along with Mark Scott, the panel consisted of Cat Matson, Chief Digital Officer for Brisbane, Michael Burton, CEO Cutting Edge, Rob Kent, MD Publicis Worldwide Australia and Prof Michael Blumenstein, Head of School of Technology Griffith University.

The discussion centred on the good, the bad and the exciting opportunities that the collection of detailed data, and in turn, the personalisation of digital media that flows from that data.

For the digitally savvy, the amount of data that we all freely give away to everyone and anyone is already fairly well known. However, this is generally thought to be the domain of the ‘big guys’. A key takeaway for me from this discussion was to reiterate that due to the digital economy that we all are a part of, any sized business can (and should) be using data and digital solutions to grow their business.

We can all compete on the world stage.

What we need to realise is that almost any business can now form a very accurate picture of who you are, what you do, what you like and what you might like. All of this information is being used to curate, create and distribute relevant content just for you.

Great. No more irrelevant ads or news you’re not interested in. Or as Cat Matson put it:

“I get a whole lot of ads in my Facebook feed about shoes, not about Viagra.”

Another bonus, a big one for me as a creator of advertising content, we can make sure our content gets in front of the specific audience. Plus, we can use data to guide us on the type of content to make that this audience wants to watch, wants to share and as a result more effective. Everyone wins.


What about the sense of discovery that makes the internet so great? How do you discover that amazing new idea, great cat video, or really important news story you should know about if it doesn’t fit into your previous pattern of content consumption and other tracked activities?

Also you can’t have a discussion about this topic without talking privacy. The metadata laws have passed and that’s one thing. But what about the data that we are all willingly giving up for “free” to loyalty programs, email accounts, apps, websites, competitions, basically everyone and anything?

I think the majority of people don’t really know and they don’t really care how much personal information they are giving up. I know, and I still use gmail, google maps, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Uber and a host of other services that collect my data. I don’t have a Flybuys card though, not because I don’t want them having my data, but I just can’t be bothered…

I think if we want privacy and data security we’re going to have pay for it. Whether the majority of consumers will be willing to pay is yet to be seen. Until there’s a paid service that is as good, or more likely better, than the “free” ones – like google’s myriad of services – I think we’ll all just happily give up our information.

So in the end, who’s googling you? Well, everyone.

But it’s really great and pretty bad – all at the same time.


Ant McCormack is Taxi + Traffic’s strategic development and innovation guy and a founding member of hub4101.

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