Recently, a hue and cry has arisen about lack of privacy and use of personal data by advertisers to target messages, based upon characteristics/interests/practices.
My beef is rather different. I do not mind advertising. Some is even entertaining and creative; some is informative. After all, it is merely a form of communication, some of which I do not mind receiving. What I mind is being “targeted”.
First of all, I do not want someone to decide what I should see or not see, based upon an erroneous interpretation of my likes and dislikes. Trolling my internet searches will not result in a valid profile, because my searches are an eclectic mess and have little to do with my shopping preferences. I do not “do” Facebook or Twitter and rarely shop over the net (mostly books).
Second, I want to see a wide range of advertisements and do not wish to have my exposure to this quasi-art form/communication vehicle to be restricted. I want to decide want to look at more closely and what to ignore. I want to see the entire spectrum, from horrible to excellent. I might not like much of what I see, but I want to know what’s out there.
This is similar to my feelings about news media. I do not want to be targeted with messages I want to hear. I certainly loath much of what I hear or read in unbridled rightwing media and disagree with most (not all) of their opinions, but I want to be informed about what garbage these turkeys are spewing. How else can I have informed opinion about key issues?
Finally, these evil people must do a better job of interpreting data and choosing ads. To date, all ads on websites that carry targeted ads have been worthless. None has had anything to do with my likes or dislikes and have had no relation to any searches, which I have made in the past.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.