I took a small break from work to walk around the library building on SU campus. It was a wonderful day. 77 degrees clear with a gentle warm breeze. Yes it is December but this is when Texas shines. Walking around the library and watching the students converse face to face or by phone, got me thinking about the apology Mark Zuckerberg posted on Facebook with regards to the service Beacon (google’s cached page). Basically the Beacon allowed Facebook users to see what their friends were purchasing and thus see if they feel incline to do the same. Just think of this as another form of viral marketing but layered in a pseudo Amazon-like: “Others that purchased this item also purchased the following…” What made this interesting was the fact that ALL Facebook users were dialed in and only now have the option of opting in or out of the service.
Though the privacy concerns were trampled on, can we honestly say we should be surprised by such methods? I see this as an evolution of targeted marketing. Pinpoint purchasing habits that can now form dynamic communities centered around product branding. To an advertiser, this was a goldmine. Instant feedback on demographics and sustainability of brand awareness with minimal pollution of direct advertising.
Just as the web evolved from the “caveman carvings on the wall” of static images and text, advertising must follow suit to keep our attention long enough to at least acknowledge their existence. It does not matter that you take offense to the invasion of privacy that is so prevalent today. As long as you are a viable consumer of goods, advertisers will find a way to get their wares to you. All I have to say is get use to it, you are not alone on the web, but you already knew that right?