Shortly after I finished writing the award-winning post on how entertained I am by the spam comments around here, I decided to log into Facebook. You know, to live vicariously through some people hopefully a little more exciting than me, maybe update my status with something witty (but more likely cheesy and/or lame), pressure a few acquaintances to ‘Like’ Puddintopia on Facebook, and see how badly the Puddinette is laying down the smack in our current game of Scrabble. As I went about the obligatory social networking motions, I noticed something that hurt my feelings.
Facebook apparently doesn’t think very highly of me.
Of course, what I actually mean by that is that Facebook seems to make some rather…interesting…choices for me as far as advertising goes. In case you’ve never noticed, the little ad boxes on the right of your profile page are theoretically customized specifically for you. Depending on your understanding and/or general opinion of technology, this may potentially seem like witchcraft. I’ll admit that I’m not certain of the specific details of how they do it, but as a writer pretending to be a computer scientist by day, I have a pretty good idea of how it’s accomplished. I’ll spare you the nitty-gritty, especially since my best guess is likely to have the conspiracy theorists among you dashing to make tin-foil fedoras faster than you can spell p-a-r-a-n-o-i-a.
Of course, in my highly questionable opinion, that’s pointless, at best. Privacy in this day and age is largely an illusion unless you live in a geological feature, disdain electricity, and consider a partially burned log that speaks directly to your brain your only true friend. In that case, though, odds are you’re not reading Puddintopia.
Anyway, so yes, Facebook tries to tailor ads to each user. With that in mind, here’s what I was presented with a few nights ago (diligently copy-n-pasted for your amusement):
Energizer – Experience the future of charging – the Energizer® Inductive Charger with Qi technology. Enter to win one for your smartphone today!
Can’t Stop Watching XXX – Sick and tired of the pain XXX is causing in your relationships & in your life? Click for free videos on how to stop watching XXX now!
Construction Management – Earn an online Bachelors of Business Administration with an emphasis in Construction Management.
I encourage you to draw your own conclusions, of course, but when I look at that, it seems an awful lot to me like Facebook thinks maybe I’m a bit down on my luck. Apparently, choosing a future in construction management will help lead me away from a debilitating porn addiction that’s clearly the result of extensive unemployment. And, hey, since I’m not working, I should consider some new battery technology to keep from constantly replacing those cheaper ones in the pile of remotes and video game controllers I use so heavily each week while I’m burning daylight in my bathrobe on the couch.
There’s a good chance I’ll never figure out exactly whyFacebook picked those three beauties for me earlier this week. I suspect it must be somehow related to my interest in videogames and/or my background in software engineering, but even that’s a stretch. Only in stereotypes do techie-types lack ambition and direction, resort to porn rather than forming constructive relationship, and burn through batteries like…well, ok, I do use a lot of batteries. But only because we have a lot of kid toys in the house.
Should I care that Facebook has such a questionable opinion of me? I dunno, maybe. Both my mother and the Puddinette have probably had occasion to hold a lower opinion of me based on actually reality, though, and they still love me. So the fact that a billion-dollar social networking platform made a few misguided assumptions doesn’t really get me too terribly irked. I figure Facebook can learn to love me how I am, even if I’m not an emotionally stunted porn-addict.
Still, it’d be nice if someone mistakenly assumed I was an ambitious, well-rounded, successful leader once in a while. I guess I won’t hold my breath for that private jet ad.