Today we Google ourselves to see what the world knows about us; tomorrow we’ll just watch the ads. The outlines of this can already be discerned in Gmail’s sometimes tactless data mining of your emails: write a friend that your cat has died and you learn, cruelly, of discounts on litter. And the extension of precision-guided advertising into social life is also there to be seen in Facebook’s “friend recommendations,” where, once we’ve added all our close friends and colleagues and vague acquaintances, we see nothing but ads for people we know of but can’t possibly ask to “friend” us—exes of significant others, secret crushes, CEOs. Personalized advertising will first solicit our minimal discretionary income and then, accidentally, show us what we badly want but can’t have.


  1. Jonathan Webb says

    Yes, but still it's hard to believe that if journalists actually wrote interesting articles about things which were true, and advertisers advertised quality products in an interesting way, that these people wouldn't make money.

  2. Jonathan Webb says

    Thanks Quin.

  3. Or show us thing we badly want but didn't know they existed.

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