Saturday, January 30, 2010

We know where you live.......

I have an Internet stalker. It's

The other day, I was on that site, looking at the page for a particular toy. A friend had sent me the link. Two days later, Amazon is sending me emails, saying things to the effect of, "Ooooh! We know you like TOYS! Check out all the TOYS you can get on our site today! Look! We're having a special on these TOYS, but you better hurry, as the deals are today only, and we don't want you to miss out because we know you like TOYS so much!" [This email may have been paraphrased slightly.]

Amazon, you're kind of freaking me out. First of all, how is visiting a single page for a single toy any indication that I have a toy obsession? Okay, I may have actually looked at the page twice, on two separate occasions (how is it my fault my friend has that toy on the brain?), but still -- one toy, two times -- not quite a symptom of toy mania. Amazon's dubious tactics for determining my tastes notwithstanding, they're clearly watching my every move. They're looking for signs of weakness, ready to take me down. They're onto me. Have they bugged my house? Do they have an eye on all my loved ones? Should I be going into hiding?

I think Facebook might be spying on me too. The ads on that site love to flaunt the fact that they know my age and gender. "You're a 26-year-old female? Cool! You're eligible to spend 3 hours clicking through ads, then spend a million dollars completing 400 sponsor offers in order to earn a 200$ gift card to a fabulous store!" [This ad may have been paraphrased slightly.]

Although not quite so paranoia-inducing, the "suggestions" on Facebook operate on a similar principle, and make me roll my eyes in a similar way. "So-and-so only has 10 friends on Facebook! Suggest friends for her!" Yes, I suppose it's not unreasonable for Facebook to know exactly how many friends each of my friends has, and to even want me to help them connect with other friends. I suppose that's what you should expect from a social networking site. However, I think Facebook has enabled some people to take their social networking just a little too far. For the good of humanity, I think Facebook should add the following recommendation to its repertoire: "So-and-so has 1,428 friends on Facebook, and counting! Suggest an intervention for her!"


Geoff said...

Yeah, there was some thing that popped up the other day where it said Facebook was going to be using our ages and stuff for ads. I think there was a way to uncheck that option too but I forget.