Whilst only eight percent of the world’s population uses Facebook, apparently more than half of people in the UK are users. For such a large number of subscribers, it sure does elicit a lot of complaints. Hardly a day goes by without someone posting an angst-ridden message about breaches of privacy or dire warnings of the intimate photos of yourself you posted from a Costa Brava nightclub when you participated in a wet T-shirt competition getting sold on to cynical bra manufacturers’ websites.
As a digital dinosaur, it did take me some time to work out the privacy settings; also to figure out that I could ‘switch off’ the deluge of spam that showered down upon my page like effluent after ‘liking’ something [in order to get the proverbial, ‘too-good-to-be-true’ offer for something I do not want].
Then there are the adverts. Manufacturers and companies allegedly use your search history to target their adverts at you, supposedly knowing you better than you know yourself! You would expect, then that the ads down the right hand side of your homepage would be for the very things you know you want and need.
In the interests of research I have conducted a minor and extremely unscientific study on the subject of my personal ads, to find out exactly what I am like, according to the advertisers. I found the results hilarious.
1. I am a crisp eater.
The last time I bought crisps, other than those posh ones you buy for pre-dinner for guests, was when my children took packed lunches to school; about fifteen years ago-ish.
2. I am a pet owner.
About twenty years ago I was reluctantly persuaded by my then small daughter to get a hamster. It was vicious, slept all day, then ran away underneath the boiler and got burned [which did nothing to soften its character]. Much as I like other people’s animals I am not, nor have I ever been tempted to own one.
3.I am a teacher.
No. I used to be a teacher.
4. I wear this sort of shoe [what and teach?]
Stilletto wearing is not an activity I’ve mastered, much to my husband’s disappointment. Wellington boots, hiking shoes, trainers and trail sandals are more my style, [although I’ll cope with a low wedge if I have to do a wedding].
5. My holidays of choice are cruises.
Now this is something they’ve got badly wrong. I have never at any time made any kind of overtures towards cruise companies. The thought of willingly becoming incarcerated in a floating prison with fellow inmates I have not selected, getting stuffed full of food and having to watch glitter-clad cabaret entertainers has never appealed. We holiday in a tiny camper van. Bliss!
6. I am a Bingo player.
7. I wish to make a claim for mis-sold PPI.
No, no, no, no, no. how many more times? No!
8. I am on the way out.
They have one bit correct. But a funeral is not, actually on my list of activities to do in retirement. Do they know something I don’t, perhaps?
There are more; ‘grandchildren’s clothing’, ‘cutting belly fat’, ‘betting’,’skiing’, ‘wrinkly eyes’. But in a way, I do find it oddly reassuring that they’ve got it all so wrong. How much more spooky and disquieting it would be if they pushed the things I really do want. What are they? Not telling!