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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: August 1, 2009 @ 9:25 am

    Ads missing the mark?

    Ciara O'Brien

    Inspired by Karlin’s piece in yesterday’s paper on Facebook ads, I’ve had a look to see what the social networking site throws up for me.

    Attempt number one: Not too insulting. MBA programme for my former college, an ad for photographers (I’m ignoring the second half of that ad) and a Lucozade ad urging me to “spark my summer into life”.

    Attempt number two: Less flattering. Aside from the ad for a jewellery website, it also gave me an ad for a bar to celebrate my 30th birthday (sob) and home laser hair removal. Hmm.

    Attempt number three: Contradictory. Right below the ad for a home fat reduction system (!!) is an ad for photography in Hawaii, complete with a girl in a bikini. The GAA ad just puzzles me.

    So according to Facebook, I’m a fat, almost-30-year-old with hair issues. Who should be drinking copious amounts of Jaegermeister, apparently. An ad for wrinkle-busters would top it off nicely.

    A crisis of confidence would beckon if I actually cared.

    So what does Facebook say about you?

    • Conor McMahon says:

      I avoid it, except to receive communications from friends abroad who more and more come to treat email much like snail mail, now that we have such social networks to ‘facilitate’ our interpersonal relationships.

      So – because technically speaking I tell ‘it’ as little as possible I watch it as it tries to figure out who the hell I am and where I could be coming from … And boy! – does it try hard.

      Sad though – to observe and sometimes even to have to resist all those clever little devices it uses to classify and shoebox human character.

      Sadder too – to think about the mass of human intellect these devices both occupy and absorb as the Facebook project continues to refine itself into the amoeba-like market research tool it effectively is.

      Saddest of all though – as it harvests all our idle interactions there are many of us most often mistakenly interpreting what it reflects back to us as accurate images of our unique selves, where in fact these images are based on nothing more than the data driven criteria of a market-research-ravenous global ‘free market’.