Everyday we’re getting more and more recommendations, whether it’s from iTunes, Facebook or some website we just happened to click on to; and each and every day these suggestions are scarily becoming more and more accurate.
Ever wondered why there’s a pair of shoes stalking you everywhere you go? It’s the power of retargeting. It was bound to happen…
By gathering a wealth of knowledge from you, your age, gender, the pages you like and the groups you create, not to mention recording and memorizing the sites you have visited, social media websites are able to collect all this data together and make a personal recommendation. They can even taunt you with constant visions of that new game that’s coming out, that you really shouldn’t be spending money on…(as if it’s not hard enough resisting!) And it’s not just social media sites; it’s online shopping and online news and online…well, everything!
But maybe a more personal web experience isn’t so bad? I mean it’s nice to get the occasional suggestion, right? But…it does make me wonder how much personal data is stored on the web and how easily it can be accessed by someone that has the knowhow. The amount of details we enter willingly into sites such as Facebook, our check-ins, our friend lists, our photos, our birthdays, our hates and likes…and is this really safe to do? I mean, you wouldn’t exactly make a scrapbook of all these things, photocopy it and send it out to everyone you meet?
Sure, sites like Twitter, Pinterest and ASOS are well known, but how do we know what they are doing with our information, how do we know it’s sufficiently protected? How far will sites continue to take our personal details for advertising purposes? Yes, it’s nice to have recommendations once in a while and true, it’s how we discover a lot of things, but maybe it would be nicer to be given the option? Surely we should have the choice whether we want these adverts thrust upon us, given the risk to our data? Or at least be given the option not to have those damn shoes waved in our faces every time we’re online…oh I rue the day!