Are you an advertisement?

I’m not sure how I feel about this.

Banner advert, redacted

First note: I don’t use Yahoo!, except on the occasion that some blog post leads me to Yahoo! News.

Second note: I do, obviously, use Facebook, but I’m not what you would call a fan of the site.

Either way, I’m uncertain about the idea of such targeted advertising. Indeed, when using the “Login with Facebook” feature at various websites, I take a moment to make certain I’m not littering my timeline with a bunch of automatic notifications. And because of the way Facebook likes to tell everyone what its users are doing, I generally don’t respond to invitations to play various games, or enter my birthday on a calendar, and so on.

To the other, it’s Facebook, so … yeah. I kind of knew what I was getting into when I signed up for an account.

But I would prefer my social networking to network according to my wishes. I do not accept the proposition that my friends, or the world in general, need to know everything I’m doing online.

Do I want my mother, for instance, to be told that I’m reading up on labiaplasty? Well, no, not really. If I want to discuss with my mother the proposition of women having their genitalia tailored to look like a plastic doll, I’ll mention the article myself. I mean, sure, it’s an interesting trend rich with psychological significance, but I have no firm idea what it means, and of all the issues to concern myself with, “the Barbie” is not going to make the short list anytime soon.

After all, I am not immune to spectacular headlines, though I’m not a fan of entertainment news, so it’s not like Facebook will be telling the world I’m reading about Dakota Fanning’s nude scene, or whether whosever dress malfunctioned or not. But, really, who wants a click-by-click update of what their friends are doing on the web? Some of my friends are annoying enough with coupon offers and cute stories about God. I don’t necessarily care if they’re reading up on a curried lamb recipe from a British newspaper.

In the end, though, it is up to users to cover their own tails. I do, sometimes, wonder when I will see an update that says, “Bob, Jack, and three other friends enjoy Yellow Snow Megababes”, or something like that. I would prefer that my friends either tell me what they’re up to or not, instead of a random ad server. But this is the way the internet goes, so the bottom line is that it is up to each user to watch their settings, read all the fine print, and know which boxes are checked and what they mean.

Protect yourself. Don’t become an advert.

One thought on “Are you an advertisement?

  1. Me and you both. I always take the time as well to make sure I’m not litering my timeline with that stuff too. It’s funny when I see people status that saying listening to, or reading at, or watching at, or playing at, I’m like really do we NEED too know that.

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