I was a very late adopter of Facebook, for reasons too complicated to get into [wait, not really: 1) I'm a late adopter of everything 2) Around the time I was about ready to "finally" join, I suddenly had to face the specter of "so your parents died?" messages on my wall, and I couldn't deal with that.] So certain things about Facebook that everyone else has learned to ignore still catch my attention and alternately bewilder and enrage me.
For example: “You may know [insert person you do, in fact, know, but wish you didn't]“ Or, the subject of today’s rageblog, targeted advertising.
As far as Robin Hitchcock, Professor Emeritus in Media Studies as NotReally University, is concerned, targeted advertising is the most important thing about Facebook. When I watched The Social Network, I was all, “Ok, ok, bitches be crazy, Justin Timberlake has curly hair too, remind my sister to name any potential boy baby ‘Uardo, get to the advertising stuff already!” I am fascinated by targeted advertising and sometimes wish I studied it in school so I could have one of those ridiculous jobs where you tweet for a living [I also wish I had my own pizzeria sometimes, so my passing flights of alternative career path fancy should be pretty much entirely disregarded.]
Because of this fascination, I was able to calmly abide all my Facebook ads becoming wedding-related when my relationship status switched to engaged. [Although the ones for engagement rings confused me, because do that many people get engaged ringless, or is that more about trading up?] I pretty much only X’d out the ones about weight loss.
I foolishly believed that when my status went to plain-old-married my ads would revert to being determined by simple things like my location and age. NOPE. Being married makes me a target audience. For lame-shaming.
Didn’t you know? Married people are lame. We don’t have fun anymore. We’re married. We need to spice things up! We need to get our groove back! We are staring down the barrel of forever. The only solution is consumerism.
The ad pictured above makes me want to punch the internet and/or cry. Boy do I ever hate being in a place in my life where “make him drool again” can be fairly expected to tap into my spend-happy insecurities. I have been married for THREE MONTHS (and yes, that information is available on Facebook. They’ve thought of everything!) That is TOO SOON to need a freaking corset to make my husband drool. IS THIS BECAUSE I CUT MY HAIR? COLLIN LIKES IT, I SWEAR! BUT NO ONE HITS ON ME ANYMORE!!!! NOT EVEN LESBIANS! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I NEED MORE LINGERIES!!
Ok, whew. Sorry, flew off the handle a little bit there. But gosh, did this ad ever worm inside of my head. And ugh, that “girls our age” remark? If you’re talking about “our age” in a “shit, we old” sense, you should not be using the word “girls.” That is creepy. Also, when exactly did I get old enough for an advertisement to commiserate with me about how “we” are old? Was it the day I got married? Did that somehow age me up ten years? Again, my age is RIGHT THERE on Facebook. Or am I really that old in the eyes of advertisers? What the hell is going to happen when I turn 30? Will it be all polident and aspercreme and Matlock: The Complete Series on BluRay?
And what the hell kind of ads do the “It’s Complicated” people get?
November 7, 2011 at 1:38 pm
If it makes you feel any better, facebook thinks I need to go into rehab. I’m guessing because I have electronic music listed under favorite bands. Um, nope.
Today it wasn’t me to buy leopard print heels at Nordstrom’s, pewter jewelry with bicycles and get an artist grant. Today I’m okay with the ads.
On the days when it’s all Betty Ford Clinic and Getting Pregnant I hate it.
November 7, 2011 at 1:43 pm
I got one that made me want to punch the internet back when I was still pre-engaged: “LOSE WEIGHT TO GET ENGAGED!” I had been in a Facebook-official relationship for more than four years, so the advertising went in the direction of “Hey lame-o, why hasn’t he put a ring on that yet? Could it be that it won’t fit on your FAT SAUSAGE FINGERS?”
I’m not sure if Facebook has some crazy photo-analyzing software, but I’m not putting it past them. After we got engaged, instead of the weight loss ads I was expecting, I started getting ads for advice on how to not look like an awkward potato in wedding photos. Why can’t you just love me, Facebook?
November 7, 2011 at 1:48 pm
Iv’e finally stopped getting the weight loss ads, after making hundreds of them as offensive. How not to look awkward ads sounds especially horrible though!
November 7, 2011 at 2:26 pm
I got this crazy ad about a “FREE divorce worksheet and checklist” *before* I was even married. I swear it came right after the wedding dresses.
Love your blog, by the way!
November 7, 2011 at 5:10 pm
Oh lord, I was wondering what would happen to all the teeth-whitening, bargain dresses and jewellers… what a bunch of fun I have to look forward to.
November 7, 2011 at 5:28 pm
Funny, EVERYTHING I get is now about babies. Or fertility. And cars (but that’s because my husband and I share a computer. He also gets some of the baby things on his fb).
November 7, 2011 at 5:30 pm
This is FASCINATING. I stopped noticing ads on Facebook after the wedding-related ones came and I reported them all as offensive. So you made me go back on Facebook today and click around just to see what ads came up. It went like this: credit card, department store boot sale, insurance, credit card, solar panel financing, Groupon, peanut butter cake (?), Groupon, solar panels, department store sale, Groupon, solar panels, Zappos boot sale, Groupon, solar panels, dresses, shoes, Institute for Neurology (!), cupcakes. Repeat.
Now I’m feeling out of sorts. Apparently Facebook thinks desperately in need of boots, dessert, coupons, credit cards, and solar panels. Not lingerie. The heartening thing is that I AM 30, and no Matlock yet.
November 7, 2011 at 8:11 pm
You’re not lame. You’re great!
The only Facebook ads I get are for running accessories and marathons. That’s kind of lame.
November 8, 2011 at 6:26 am
Anything that mentions weightloss I mark as “offensive” I still get them, but it makes me feel better about myself to do it.
November 8, 2011 at 7:36 pm
I guess I’m good at blocking out stuff I don’t want to see/dumb, because I couldn’t recall a single thing Facebook has ever advertised to me. So I went to the site just now to see how they have me pegged, and the first ad that came up? LIVE PUPPY CAM. AND YOU’D BETTER BELIEVE I’M CLICKING ON THAT SHIT. So, well done, Facebook. Creepily and well done.
November 8, 2011 at 10:33 pm
I tend to lean towards thinking of targeted advertising as potentially being really useful more than creepy (full disclosure: I do work in online advertising myself) but as you can see, a lot of times it’s really disappointing how simplistic the targeting is. Sigh.
November 9, 2011 at 8:51 pm
I don’t know how this happens, but I get ads targeted at wherever my friends live whenever I friend new friends. So Liz in Buffalo nets me Buffalo Groupon. Mariah in Texas and I get all kinds of doctors’ offices and car dealerships in Austin. Fun! I also get shoe ones all the time. Maybe I’ll just leave it as “in a relationship” indefinitely.
December 14, 2011 at 9:17 pm
Somehow (perhaps it is the 5 years of marriage mark or something and my hitting offensive about anything related to babies or going back to school) FB now advertises cool furniture and neat band tshirts to me.
Re: the idea that short hair means no one hits on you. Let me tell you where to go if you want to experience the reverse of this. Flickr. Short hair fetishists abound there and are all too willing to leave comments on any innocuous picture featuring a short ‘do.
I’m sorry they want to put you in bad fake corsets.
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