I get news notifications on my phone. I’m sure many of you do as well. Now, I know I’ve talked about the whole idea of “Big Brother is watching” before, but come on! It’s like this entire headline was written specifically for me. I should be outraged, and I am. But damn, if this isn’t spot on.
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.
I’ve read the memes and I’ve heard the jokes about “big brother” and how he is ever vigilant in watching what everyone does. However, I’ve never really experienced it until this week. Oh, sure, I’ve been known to look at “must haves” on Amazon or Etsy and then suddenly, up pops an ad for the very same thing on my Facebook feed. I think everyone who spends any amount of time online has faced that disturbing scenario. But … to ramp up the surreal nature of targeted ads, not to mention creep factor, “big brother” upped the ante this week.
My daughter and I were talking … TALKING … about mochi ice-cream (a yummy Japanese ice cream confection made with a traditional mochi outer-layer) in the grocery store as we stood in front of the refrigerated section staring at said product. I’ll admit, we discussed the topic at length, comparing flavors, deciding which was our favorite from past forays into the mochi dessert menus at various Japanese steakhouses, and waffling back and forth as to whether we should buy some now. Not being telepathic, our conversations were verbal. I know that may seem like an odd distinction to make, but it’s important for me that you know that, because I’m convinced it plays into what happened next.
Our phones were off as they dwelled deep within our pockets … there wasn’t a computer to be seen … I didn’t catch sight of a grocery clerk with a clipboard taking notes or a men-in-black representative lurking about, yet the next day, what pops up on my Facebook feed? You guessed it. An ad for mochi ice-cream. And not just ANY mochi ice cream – but the very same brand and two flavors we were looking at in the grocery store.
You tell me. WTF?