Reasons for sharing
Many of the reasons for sharing personal data are driven by the desire of self-expression and making our lives more transparent. At a psychological level, I believe it falls under Maslow's hierarchy of needs as self-actualization. We have a basic fundamental need to feel accepted, to feel a sense of worth in life, and to know that our voice is heard in a world where 7 billion people are all talking at the same time. As a consequence, we look past the risk of putting our privacy on display, because if we are able to fulfill this inherent need, then the juice is worth the squeeze.
Another reason for data sharing is the ability to keep in contact with friends and family members, or ideally whomever you desire. Once we graduate and begin our adult lives, we are bombarded with our careers, social activities, relationships, financial obligations, travels, family, children, that is becomes nearly impossible to keep up with those who were important to you during your childhood and whom you saw on a daily basis.
Sharing personal data is also socially acceptable method of boasting a bit about your accomplishments. I used to joke that Instagram's sole purpose is to show others how great your life is compared to others, with the intention of making others jealous of your life. Now when you see accounts such as Dan Bilzerian ….that seems to be exactly the case. However, from another perspective this is just another form of sharing what you are proud of and what makes you unique compared to the rest of the world.
Finally, data sharing benefits us as individuals and is able to show us who we are. Every time we tweet a status about how we feel, check-in to a certain bar/restaurant, or upload a photo showing which corner of the world we are in, we are creating a written story of our lives in the form of data. It creates a reflection of ourselves at any given point in time that later in life we will be able to look back and reflect on.
This post represents the highlights of why I think data sharing is beneficial, however there are certainly more pros and cons out there. If you have some ideas, please share. Let me know why it is that you would or would not share your data openly.