I’ve always been quite conscious of my internet usage, and observant of how “Walled Gardens” such as Facebook use my metadata to create tailored advertisements. I couldn’t tell you how many times I have been looking at dresses online, and then open my Facebook tab to almost instantaneously find an ad from a related website.
You see, the paradox of control lies here in the fact that platforms like this offer us the ability to present and curate exactly how we want to be viewed. We can select and search for exactly the content that we want to see and develop a newsfeed that shows us things we are interested in viewing. It appeals to our narcissistic nature. Or at least that’s what we think.
However by making ourselves the commodity when we agree to these terms and conditions, we are essentially paying for these free services with our identity and data. Everything we ‘like’, ‘share’ or comment on curates a pattern of behaviour online and hence contributes to an algorithm that predicts our personality and interests, and can even be said to contribute to social sorting.
(This interview is from 2009, you can only imagine how much it has developed since then)
Just on a sidenote: I have to laugh when this doesn’t quite go to plan though. The other day I had two advertisements for a pregnancy cream, as well as suggested video called “I Have Autism, Yay!”.