Feeling Targeted

I know my poor Netflix has identity issues when it comes to interpreting my viewing habits and bouncing suggestions back to me on a daily basis.  Spotify has the same problem … classic rock, country, Disney movie soundtracks, and new artists all combine to thoroughly confuse whatever algorithm is in place to ensure relevant offerings are featured in the “recommended for you” listings.

Now, apparently, whoever is in charge of filtering advertisements on the social media sites I visit, based on my internet history, is having an interesting time of it as well.

And quite frankly, I’m torn. Even if I had the money to purchase one of these items … I’m just not sure which one I would choose.

A little something called your computer’s history

You don’t have to be an IT expert these days to know about a little something called your computer’s history. Back when the Internet was first being explored by us commoners, the intricacies of our activity were tougher to figure out as we struggled to understand how connecting to our phone line can make pictures appear on a screen. Crazy!

Now it’s 2014. We have no excuse for not knowing what the history is. And we also have no excuse for not knowing how to clear it. Spoiler alert about the movie Don Jon: Joseph Gordon Levitt is a guy addicted to porn blah blah blah. He meets a girl blah blah blah. She goes on his computer to check his browsing history blah blah blah. She finds all the XXX sites he’s been to for the past ten days blah blah blah. Wait, what? This is where the record scratched for me. Not only was he so dumb that he didn’t clear his history of his more intimate indulgences but he had no clue what his history even was.

This should not be. This cannot happen. People, how would you feel if your history were made public one day? I, personally, would feel fine because the most you’re going to see out of me is that I read too much (yes, yes, I am aware of the numerous visits to Amazon and Barnes & Noble), make frequent visits to Irish travel guide sites (a dream as yet unrealized), spend way more time on Facebook than I should (who doesn’t?), and that I really, really like Marvel Comics (I am NOT ashamed).

Clearing one’s history is not only good advice to keep in mind for porn aficionados and e-voyeurs, but also surprise birthday party planners, gift givers, child stalkers (your own child, pervert, not other people’s!), Words With Friends cheaters, and closet Kevin James fans. Oh and if you’re going to be chatting it up with people you really shouldn’t be chatting it up with?  Yeah, it would be a good idea to delete that too.

Long story short, if you’re going to do something sketchy online you should really be better at covering your tracks. It’s really not that hard. Yet some people just can’t seem to grasp the basics.  Would you ever rob a jewelry store and not wear gloves? Websites have fingerprints too. All your movements leave a trail, but clearing history can wash away that digital DNA, at least off the surface. Use it or if you get caught I can only say to you, “I told you so.”

Of course there’s always the novel idea of not doing sketchy things to begin with.  Oh, who am I kidding?  Like that’s ever going to happen.