Here’s who Facebook thinks I am

We’re on baby watch here at Comics and Beer – the January 3 due date is now officially blown – so blogging will be light and airy. I apologize for the absence of beer posts – I just learned my Missouri driver’s license expired on October 19, 2009, so was shut out of my last purchase attempt. Granted, I’ve got a fridgefull of all kinds of stuff, but like I said, I’m a little preoccupied (although more than willing to start drinking).

So while we wait, I Facebook (and design syllabi). And while I Facebook, I notice what Facebook knows, or thinks it knows, about us. For example, I AM indeed an English major:

As well as a member of the (high school) class of 1996:

So yeah, the Facebook ads hit from time to time. But, like a lot of social media marketing attempts, they often just miss the mark, and this turns out to be even more distracting. Think of it as a kind of uncanny valley – in movies, we can easily accept a character that is clearly cartooned or unhuman, but the closer we get to almost human, the creepier it gets.

The same thing goes for advertising, only swap “creepy” with “annoying.” Consider this:

While it’s true I’m a journalist and am a fan of learning more, I’ve got a PhD in Journalism, so their MA probably isn’t something I’m in the market for.

Location is another near-miss I see a lot of:

Close, but I live in West Virginia; it’s like Ohio, only with more mountains and poverty.

Now I realize that these ads are designed as a balancing act between the general and the specific. The creators want to identify niche markets to serve while at the same time not wanting to get so specific as to overly limit their potential customers. But the targeted nature of the ads (I get a LOT of Ohio ads, yet few for WV or PA) suggests that they’ve got access to some of my information. If they know I’m a father-to-be (and the ads suggest they do), is it too much to expect they’d get my state right?

Understand, I’m not ASKING advertisers to delve more deeply into my info – I hate that these places know anything about me – but I’m fascinated by the errors. If they’re trying to sell to specific audiences, why not try to get it right?

On the other hand, sometimes the ones that are really off are kinda refreshing:

Ho. Lee. Crap. Is this who the Facebook advertisers think I am? Who I can relate to? Who I aspire to be? While I am a dad-to-be, who in god’s name chose this refugee from the Oak Ridge Boys as the face of their chintzy grant-awarding service? Up until last year, I did make less than $45,000 – far, FAR less – and while I’ve had my share of bad haircuts, at no time did I approach looking like this guy, so which of my posts indicate that I am a roadie or roustabout?

But this one’s really my favorite:

Boyyyyy do you not know who you’re dealing with.

4 thoughts on “Here’s who Facebook thinks I am

  1. Nice. I do find it a bit ironic that the last advertisement directs you to clothing that “you won’t find anywhere.” This begs the question, what do they sell on the website.

  2. Hey, as a former roustabout, I would like to say that only about half of the crew I worked on was that poorly groomed. I can’t speak for roadies.

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