So I had a follow-up visit to my ophthalmologist today, just to see if the eye was healing the way it should. (It is.) Scanning the thousand-year-old periodicals in the waiting room, I opted to check email instead, via my phone. The first ad Facebook served me was for Starling Eyewear, makers of funky reading and sunglasses.
This could have been a coincidence, but I don’t think so. Because I was thinking about glasses and hey, look! An ad for glasses.
This happens often. A friend of mine stopped in a store on the way home from lunch, and when he returned to his desk, why look, here’s an ad for the store on his social media page.
Another was in Ann Arbor, and thought hey, maybe we should see a movie. Punched “American Hustle” into his phone and was told, It’s playing right down the street, and the show starts in 20 minutes. Want to buy tickets?
This is what I’ve come to call the Benevolent Internet, referenced yesterday in connection with the sale of the Nest thermostat company to Google for more than $3 billion. Do you want a helpful machine in your pocket to read your mind and tell you those pants you were admiring are on sale? Or, looked at from another angle, would you like to tell Google how warm you keep your house, even when you’re not in it?
You might think that’s none of Google’s business, but they just spent $3 billion to make it their business.
When I was looking at the very first Macintosh computer in the mid-’80s, my mother wondered what I might use it for. I told her there’s a program that, once you input all the contents of your cabinets and refrigerator, suggests things you might make for dinner based on what you have on hand. She said, “That’s what I do every day of my life, only I do it in my head.”
I use the internet for work, which means I go to a lot of pages I’m not particularly interested in, but need information from. My Amazon “recommended for you” page is a mess, because I look up books I wouldn’t take free of charge if they were offered as fireplace kindling. I sometimes browse $4,000 dresses on Nordstrom’s site, just to see what a $4,000 dress looks like. I root around Tumblr because teenage girls are fond of it, and I know a few of them. I think it’s my responsibility to know what pro-ana and fitspiration is. I shudder to think what the cloud of my surfing would look like, and who might be interested in it.
Not long after I took my job in Fort Wayne, they instituted a drug-testing program for new hires. The editor proclaimed he wasn’t in favor of this, that it was imposed from above, and it wouldn’t necessarily be a deal breaker for the right candidate. “What you do on your own time is your own business,” he said. What a concept.
Now, what you do on your own time is the wealth creator for all those Silicon Valley fortunes.
I don’t want to sound paranoid, but this is making me edge in that direction. And I’m a person who lives pretty out loud already.
I think I’ll compromise by putting a sticker on my webcam. I never use it anyway.
OK, some bloggage:
And me, I’m outta here.