The targeting on Facebook advertising is starting to annoy me. Then again, I have only myself to blame. After all, the basic value of the Facebook experience is simple: you tell them everything you can bear to about yourself and create a list of your "friends." Then you read about what those friends are doing. How can you be surprised when the advertising widgety gurus in the Facebook lab create an algorithm that spits back a version of you - the improved if you buy our products you.
Hence, the hideous targeted advertisement to the left. Which hit me flat in the, er, gut today at about 3:37 just as I perused the 30 or so friend requests I can't make heads or tails of in my Facebook queue.
Honestly, you don't enter your height or weight in the little Facebook query form, so how did they guess? I joined no Forty-something and Flabby groups. My photo is discreet. Was it all those Big Bill Broonzy songs in my iTunes playlist?
Or were they just playing the odds of date of birth, 1962.
As I've long argued, the privacy debate is over - has been since the 90s or before. Everything we purchase is tracked or logged or dumped into a database; swipe cards - from bank cards to EZ-pass - track our movements. Cell phone bills show our migratory patterns. And just wait till the new GPS numbers. There are security cameras is every building in midtown, a camera on every corner, every stop-light. Our web surfing tracks are rubbed in digital brass. Email is forever. And as we know, the telecom companies will turn over the records to any tinhorn who happens to ask, Federal warrants be damned. Hell, even the Democratic nominee for president, a man seeking to undo the horrors of the Bush years, agrees with it.
So I long ago decided to try and embrace this public stance, to give up on digital privacy and enjoy the increased communications and the new relationships that social networks can provide. But now, this targeted ad for green tea and a flat belly and has riled me. I have no beefcake aspirations, Facebook. Turn off your evil machine and keep your "abs" to yourself.