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The One to One Future, Part I
Survey data is one thing. Your own language is another.
In the future, companies will do their best to get their hands on as much of your original writing as they can. They'll subscribe to discussion lists, sort through Usenet, hang out in chat rooms, and, depending on the scruples of your Internet service provider, scour your outgoing email.
At first, they'll be able learn something about you by virtue of where you choose to express yourself. Then, after they've compliled enough of your ASCII, they'll use natural language processing technology to add tidbits of psychographic data on you to their databases. And finally, when the technology matures, they'll be able to start using your language and vocabulary patterns to sell products back to you in highly-personalized email messages.
"Michael, I may be stating the obvious here, but shouldn't you be shaving with Gillette?"
Read other pieces in the One to One Future series.
Other pieces about personalization: