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Have you seen this American Express commercial?


I saw it this morning.

What struck me about it, at first, was how cool it was that you could try out new activities and experiences – I loved that!

But to do this, you have to sync your American Express card with your Facebook, Foursquare, or Twitter account.

What happens, when you do this, is that you receive rebates and discounts on your purchases from participating retailers.

Basically, it seems like you promote your presence at the store, and perhaps the synced account sends out an automatic update when you complete a purchase.

So, essentially, you’re trading privacy for dollars.

I understand the value of social shopping- i.e the process of sharing your purchases and recommendations with others- and benefiting from their purchases and recommendations too.

However, I do admit some discomfort with the level of transparency a credit card/social media sync requires. I notice now that each time I shop on Amazon, I’m given the option of tweeting, or Facebooking what I just purchased.

Now, if I was always purchasing something cool, maybe I’d want to share it with my friends. But do my friends really need to know that I just got a screaming deal on laundry detergent?

I think not.

Not because I think there’s anything wrong with buying laundry detergent, but rather that I think these kind of updates (along the lines of “here’s what I’m eating, here’s what I’m drinking, etc.) can start to clutter up my friend’s social media streams.

I want my status updates to be informative, interesting, entertaining- and not mundane. Not that my friends would mind, maybe, but it, to me, is about walking the line about what is useful or relevant to share, and what it isn’t.

While I realize we all have different thresholds for what we consider private, and what we’re willing to share, I just admit to a bit of discomfort at the lack of privacy this kind of synced social shopping creates.

I’m not advocating for not sharing or fully sharing. I’m just saying that we may be, too easily, trading our privacy for dollars when we set out to share full details of each and every purchase we make.

And so, for me, I won’t be syncing my credit cards to my social media accounts any time in the near future.

In this age where everyone could know everything about you, I still think there is value in retaining some privacy.