It’s Not What You Think

Anyone with gout up for a long bike trip?

After a couple days of way too deep thoughts, I sat down at my computer tonight without a thing to say. So, I flipped over to Facebook to see what was going on there. A friend is at the Four Seasons in New York. Another friend is looking for advice on how to break in her cowboy boots. Yet another friend recommended new Tide Pods for my laundry. All very standard stuff. Then, I glanced to the right sidebar where all the ads hand picked just for me appear. Something there caught my eye…an ad for stripper training here in Denver. Interesting. Not sure they reached their target audience for that ad. I doubt there is a clamoring demand for 43 year old mothers who strip, but it got my attention all the same. What made the ad doubly awesome, though, was that directly beneath it an ad for a gout study appeared. I don’t have gout, but if I did I’m assuming it would be even more unlikely that I’d be interested in that stripper training what with the painful inflammation in my feet and all. Gout might make dancing around in stilettos a bit more difficult.

The whole sidebar was so highly entertaining that I decided to keep refreshing the page to see what other ads might pop up for me. I was targeted to receive ads about the Nordstrom dress department, Pillsbury, a couple biking events, an autoimmune disease seminar, daily deals on outdoor gear, Knorr dip mixes, fibromyalgia, fun iPhone covers, and a wine sisterhood. Certainly the ads got some things right. I do bake, cycle regularly, and drink wine. I’ve also bought from outdoor gear web sites and have shopped at Nordstrom as well. I’m not, however, currently suffering from any major maladies, including autoimmune disease. At least, not as far as I know.

Some people get riled up about the whole Big Brother thing, about our information being out in cyberspace, about our lack of online privacy. I suppose I understand their concerns. Given what I saw tonight, though, I sincerely doubt we’re at Minority Report-level of advertising just yet. Maybe in an alternate universe I’m a gout-ridden, stripper wannabe. But, in this universe if online ads had me pegged, I’d see nothing but Starbucks, iTunes, and Target in my Facebook sidebar.


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