Browsing history, virtual keychains, incognito mode, and plenty of calorie free cookies are all part of the love-hate relationship we have with digital privacy. As accepting users of the internet, we are also opting in to some forms of privacy breaches, and we seem care less and less. Where does our privacy start and end? It seems as if no one is drawing the line anymore.
When I switch between my facebook app and Instagram for seemingly the hundredth time today I am likely to notice at least one ad repeated across both platforms. These ads are either related to sites I have visited recently, things I “like” or “follow”, or profiling me as a young white woman (que wedding rings and babies!). At times I have even noticed chat conversations leading to products being suggested to me. While these ads are not always hitting the sweet spot and getting me to buy, they are getting closer.
Only a few years ago we were force fed advertising aimed at the general population, now we are getting curated experiences. These experiences are not only from advertising and social media giants, but also from ourselves. The pages we choose to follow, tv stations we watch, and podcasts we listen to are all informing our thoughts and choices. Often, we opt in to only follow the material that rings true to our personal beliefs. Once we have fine-tuned our media consumption we become isolated and distant from what others are learning in their corners of the internet. We constantly reinforce our own opinions about everything from fashion to politics by seeing only the content that we identify with.
Websites are feeding on the information that we as users give them and learning our likes and dislikes, further isolating us from each other. By playing on our beliefs and interests advertisements begin to blend into the normal landscape of the internet. To fight against the isolation that we are facing it is important to diversify our digital spaces. Follow the news programs you disagree with, give a like to some products you’re not too sure about and do a deep dive into some feisty comment sections. Get messy in your digital world, don’t be afraid to go outside your box and keep those advertisers guessing.