I’ve been aware for some time that nothing I do online is really private. If I look at some clothing website on Tuesday, by Wednesday, I’m getting sidebar ads for that same clothing company. If I watch a Paws for Hope video on YouTube, suddenly lots of their videos pop to the top of my feed. Same with Facebook. Not too irritating although it makes me wonder if cyberspace is smart enough to know what I’m looking at, why isn’t it smart enough to know when I’ve made a purchase so they can stop showing me the ads for what I’ve bought?
I have a “color-by-number” app on my phone – it’s a mindless game that I often play if I have the tv on or am listening to a book on tape. It only takes up about ¼ of my brain (if that). It has a function that offers me “hints” if I watch the occasional ad. Most of the time I ignore that function, but occasionally the puzzles have little bits that are almost impossible to see, so I like to have a couple of hints available. About a month ago I noticed that the ads on this game were aligning with stuff that I was searching for online using my phone. Not 100% but close enough. So now my game is paying attention to what I’m up to when I’m not playing. I wasn’t sure if I should worry about this or not.
Then yesterday I had the tv on while I was working in my studio. One of the interminably long Cindy Crawford ads came on – the ones in which they talk about the special melons in the south of France. I flipped on mute and waited it out. While I was watching out of the corner of my eye for the commercial to end, I thought to myself “Well, at least they don’t run those Crepe Erase ads anymore.” I’m not sure why I don’t like these ads, but I don’t even like to say the words “crepe” and “erase” together. I have nothing against Jane Seymour, their spokeswoman, but I just don’t like the ads. So imagine my shock when about 20 minutes later, there was Jane Seymour hawking Crepe Erase! Honestly, I haven’t seen one of these ads for a couple of years at least. It’s clear they’re reading my mind – this crosses the line!
Do you have a favorite hat?