As most of you know, I'm a privacy freak, but this article really got me thinking, especially since I actually often DO worry about what I put in my trash at a hotel. Now if that doesn't intrigue you, read the only version, or get Travel & Leisure's latest issue. Here's the article:
That was a very interesting read! I do like hotels profiling me to a degree. For example, I often use my MR Chase anniversary certificate at the CY Waikiki, as it is the only Cat. 5 on the island. They know that I come at least once a year, I'm a local, am a MR Elite member, and always upgrade to a 1-bedroom suite. So, they often give me special pricing and what not. I don't travel quite enough to see how it would affect me at other properties, though I'm hoping that'll change this year.
But, the last example about the fathers day "gift" and even the digging through the trash is a bit much... I wouldn't not feel comfortable with that!
Very interesting article!
Have always enjoyed Travel & Leisure as one of the better travel magazines.
I think the real trick is to only provide publicly that information that you want known about you, and not provide anymore. For instance I use an older travel photo, taken with one of the early generation digital cameras, as the definition is not that precise, and the lightening not that good. Anyone that knows me would recognize me, but someone who does not, would not recognize me if they saw me on the street. Websites like MI that allow you to use a screen name, I do, as I like to be candid in my interactions, but I don't know who I am interacting with. To use social media and connect, it helps to have your educational and work affiliations, but there is no requirements to provide dates, so I do not. For my name, I use a shortened version, and save the full name for legal documents only. This also helps me to pinpoint people I do business with that sell my name, and I do not do business with anyone I catch doing this. For a mailing address I prefer to use a PO Box. I see no reason why everyone that sends me mail, or that I need to provide an address to, needs to know where I physically reside. When I travel I like to talk with folks, but I rarely provide specifics on where I am coming from or going to. I think most people are geniune and authentic, but there are a few bad apples out there, and you never know when you might run across them, so less is more.
Well, we know that they know the name of your two husbands (you bigamist, you ).
All kidding aside, a couple of things come to mind.
Just my two cents. Mayhaps I'm just having a downer day, Moriarty.
I think the point of the article was neither positive nor negative but mostly informative. They'd find very little about (except at Marriotts, via Insiders) from my stage name, and on twitter I use fake names and fake email addresses and my only facebook page is a (for me) noninteractive author's page. But the article pointed out the positives as well, when they are tracking your behavior, though it mentioned European hotels are much more limited by privacy laws in their ability to do so, so I probably haven't gotten noticed too much in that regard (though the Grand Flora and the Athens Ledra and the Ghent Marriott do -- maybe because of multiple stays, maybe internal info gathering).
I had to laugh at the wine and the trash idea -- in different places in the article. Often if I'm just in a place to do research as oppose to combining the two I will go to a supermercato or supermarché and buy some cheese, bread and wine and take it back with me, at least for a few nights. I've always felt great guilt (except for the last night of the stay) leaving empty wine bottles in the trash. I make sure to eat all the food so it doesn't attract bugs. But only at the Grand Flora and in the grand olden days of the Rive Gauche before they trashed me on that one trip did I find bottles of red wine in my room at night that were not part of a welcome package.
I actually found the 'going through the trash' part of the article the most interesting. Oh, how much we can tell from people's trash!
Agreed,that they do not know anymore that what you choose to tell them.
I hear lots of folks going on and on, about their whole life story in a public place (hotel, airport, airport tram, train, etc).
If you put it out there, people will make use of it, whether its your hotel chain in studying their customer, or a scam artist that is eavesdropping.
Well, for anyone at a hotel who is listening and goes through my trash, I like a good dry red wine (carmenere, cabernet, chianti classico, brunello di montalcino, etc....
Otherwise, unfortunately the best they can probably usually figure out is that I'm a professor and author with no clearly visible online footprint about ideas or preferences (except red wine: hint, hint, listeners).
Oh, I forgot to mention my husbands Stuart and Mark, who individually like both Perrier-Joüet and a good sauternes besides my personal red wine bias. I guess I am creating an online profile. But it is one I choose, with a little help from NOLA inspiration.
Seriously, though, Pluto, I don't think all information is created equal. Yes, people on MRI can figure out who I am if for some silly reason they want to try. But I have no personal profile page, my twitter page, which is only used to keep up on events in the Middle East, France, Italy and Greece is multilayered fake, and surveys I do to get points for various things are all true except that I give an inaccurate birth date that is close to my real one and easily memorable to me, but different year, different date. And when asked security questions to recover passwords, I either make up my own or answer obscure ones that no one in my adult life would ever know.
To me regular Facebook is the greatest invader of privacy, so I will not be part of it except the non-interactive version which is more or less my bit of publicity. Twitter can be much more anonymous, especially if you're not interested in most of the same things as most Americans seem to be (my list never comes close to matching their hit list). And I only even go on twitter when something is happening in a place I care about and I can't get the info on TV in the US (or even CNN-I or BBC Intl).
If anyone ever figures out my twitter account, send me a private email and I will send you a bottle of wine or beer or ale -- and then I will delete and change it.
My point is that there are levels of privacy that we can choose to create or not get involved in. Since aside from Stuart and Mark I don't have much family to speak of, I don't want to share except in spaces like these. Yes, anyone can 'find me' if they want to waste their time doing so, but they wouldn't find out much. Because except from professional stuff, I have only ever told personal things (and usually not in detail) to close friends or much more generally Insiders.
I seriously worry for my students. They post everything online, they send photos they shouldn't, and I thank God every day I did not grow up in this era.
I read this article with great interest. I stay at Marriotts (and occassionally Hyatt's)accross the USA, Caribbean, Europe and Asia, principally for work. I have no Facebook account/page and no twitter account. I do not believe in sharing personal data, and given my occupation, maintaining confidentiality is key to both my and my Company's reputation. I am very careful about what I leave in the trash (I have been know to carry way too any things to my home or office appropriate (shredding) disposal. When I use a pad provided by the hotel, I tear off the top sheet and write on the hard top of my PC so that no impression is left behind of what I wrote (thanks to all of those bad detective shows I watched in my youth). If the Marriott or Hyatt investi are interested in a few used tissues (what is it about travelthat makes my nose run like that?), a few q-tips, and an occasional candy wrapper (horror, they might find out my craving for chocolate), they might conclude that I have a runny nose, ear wax and like sweets. When I travel with my family, I can assure you everyone who works or stay at the property knows my children's names, given the number of times I have to ask them to sit down in the restaurant, not jump in the pool, stay off the inappropriate exercise equipment, stop running in the hallways with heavy feet, etc. Aside from that, I promise you wouldnt find much out about me or my family that I havent ensured is out to be found.
I personally think that society has become one where people do not value their privacy, disclose too much in a public way and think nothing of "baring" their souls to the public at large (all of those disgusitng reality shows really, dont get me started, to a one they are all awful and really give meaning to that old prhase, the boob tube).
I ride a major commuter RR from home to work and it is amazing what you hear on the train. I fly allot, and generally refrain from talking shop, even to colleagues flying with me on a plane. I also wont talk shop in a taxi or on an elevator. I will freely talk sports with anyone, its the glue that bonds many, and I can talk the arts too (classical if you want to know), science, or about travel.
I think the old WW 2 phrase (and no, I am NOT THAT OLD) "loose lips sink ships" is one that can be adapted to today's free open information age.
In short, you own your "content" and your personal "brand" and as I remind my children, once you put it out on the Internet, it's there FOREVER. Don't say it, publish it or leave something where it can be found unless you are prepared for it to be in the public domain.
Ask me about all of the 20 something's that want a job with my Company (I interview many of them) and how often a really promising candidate gets shut out due to facebook photo's showing questionable behaviour, twitter posts or google results on them. I guard my brand very closely, manage it with a zeal, and protect my privacy, reputation and family all the better due to this privacy and brand approach.
I really thank ProfChiara for posting this and it only re affirms that I only give out what I want other to know.
Hi Pluto, I agree -- though I clear my cache frequently and then restart. I am very serious about maintaining privacy except when I choose to share it. And when I share it I try to use the funny things.
But I think as Stelzer says, we need to be wary. Not of hotels in particular but our privacy overall. As some of you know I am outraged at the violation of 4th amendment rights with TSA, especially since I've been subjected to excessive searches repeatedly (usually in Boston). Oddly, Ben Gurion was the fastest I ever got through an airport coming home. I definitely believe in privacy but I also believe in behavioral screening. Why screen a high level FF with millions of miles, no checked luggage, a round-trip ticket, etc.
So I'm willing to share some of my content in this day and age in order to get through the horrific process of flying these days. Delta has made that much easier at most airports because of status, as has its partner KLM (Air France is an exception, though my French got through the barriers once).
I don't worry for most of us -- I imagine our average age is 35-65. But for younger people who share everything, they are giving their lives away.
PS-Stelzer - I never use anything but my own netbook at hotels. I stopped taking my Mac Pro because I was afraid someone might steal it since it does contain my life, as you imply. My PC netbook is good mostly for email and occasional web surfing so it works perfectly abroad.
I've always been a privacy freak and always will. Unless one hotel chain wants to supply me and my apparently multiple husbands with the wines of our choice...
It never fails to surprise me, though, how much inappropriate stuff people in my generation post. They talk about it in college now, and perhaps the should talk to students about it in middle school and high school. I'm dismayed when I see younger siblings of friends posting pictures of themselves drinking (under aged!) on their profiles in addition to other inappropriate behavior. Unfortunately for these people, they will not realize the gravity of their actions until it's too late!