As a single lady of about 30 I seem to be told that I need to find a boyfriend all the time, by my friends, family and even by Facebook. Okay I am single, but no, I do not want to register into ANY online dating service. Any of them, really. Meet Irish Sober Men sounds like a nice one, pretty tempting I must say, but I’d rather search hard offline. I am just not the online dating person and I am not clicking on any of these ads, would you not consider stop displaying them at all on my profile?
All this social network advertising can sometimes be quite annoying. They call it ‘targeting demographics’, which means they try to display ads that are supposed to be relevant to you, according to the personal details, statuses and interests loaded in your profile. The more they can get from you, the better they can advertise. Or so they think. Do you find these ‘personalised adverts’ interesting at all? Some people would say ‘Just ignore them’, but how can I ignore Mature woman wanted (Facebook, did you really just call me ‘mature’?) or No more flabby arms? I wonder if they have a software that analyses your pictures: new wrinkle, go with the ad for old spinsters; chubby cheeks, go with the ad for fat chicks. Right, my arms would benefit from a little toning (whose arms wouldn’t?), so what? Mind your own business Facebook!
In a nutshell here is what Facebook seems to be telling me: I am an old spinster (seriously Facebook, ‘mature’?), I should be married and have kids by now, so I urgently need to find a man and learn how to stay in a relationship (How to keep men hooked); my biological clock is ticking (Trying for a baby? We are leaders in reproductive medicine) and I am probably still single because I have flabby arms and a double chin (oh, that Beautify your neck ad is so inviting!), but if I really want to keep on with my sad life I can Save 70% on Brownies (or get a cheap van insurance).
Have you ever had the impression that whatever you may mention on your wall or even in your private conversations won’t take long to re-appear as a topic in one of the ads on the right-hand side? If by chance that is exactly what you were looking for, this is very impactful advertising. If that is not the case though (and doesn’t seem to be so very often), it’s just creepy advertising. They also say Facebook can track your online activities outside Facebook (not joking, check this out here). Unplanned Pregnancy? is one advert that left me totally perplexed: what on earth can I have mentioned on my wall, notes or messages that could lead anyone – even a software - to believe I would need counselling for an unexpected pregnancy? Whatever I might be doing online I don’t think there is any risk of getting pregnant. This adds perfectly to the miserable portrait Facebook seems to be depicting of me (sigh!).
Unsolicited advice is never nice. Facebook says you can influence some of the ads you see, by updating the information used to personalise your ads, such as liking or removing pages or by removing things from your Facebook history that are no longer relevant for instance (all explained here). Too much work you say? Well, there are no ads on Google+…
Compelled to Comment? Please share your thoughts.
P.S. I love Facebook and I have a sense of humour. :)