Yes, you read it right, Facebook indeed thinks I am fat. All 130 lbs of me soak-and-wet is obviously too overweight for the venerable social network. It apparently thinks I need a shave and have an unhealthy obsession with sea bass and needing a date with local hot woman in 201. While some of this may in fact be true (yes, I do need to shave before my face begins to resemble Chubaca) I find it incredibly disturbing with some of the other suggestions it makes.
I used to feel the same way about Google’s gmail parsing words out of my emails to serve me ads, until conversations about giving raspberries (the sticking your tongue out action) began resulting in recipes and jam of the month clubs. Then it became a game with people to see how ridiculously incorrect the ads could become based on non-contextual use of keywords in our conversations. Writing “i am picturing you naked” and getting back ads for Kodak film was just the first iteration of just how humorous the game could become.
However, with Facebook, there appears to be a slightly different devil at work. One that probably looked at my age and figured I had a beer gut by now and needed help dropping it. One that assumed because my status isn’t married I was desperate for a date. Um, it might be true I would like a date, but I certainly don’t need to be reminded on a daily basis how pathetic it very well might be to still be single at my age.
Normally, right about here I would step on my marketing soapbox and point out how this type of targeting is a fantastic niche approach to delivering the message to the most qualified consumer, and followed up stepping over to the privacy pulpit to complain about how it invades the walled garden I tried to set up with my network of friends on the site to roboticly insert this type of systematic messaging based on attributes of our co-existence.
Instead, I’ll just point out that under no circumstances would I ever want to be reminded of stonewashed jeans, big hair and jam boxes so there is absolutely no way I would ever click on the ad for finding my former classmates. If they really wanted my 1980’s attention Saturday Morning Cartoons, Garbage Pail Kids and G I Joe action figures might have fit better in converting my profile information into a useful ad. Similarly, as much as I am a mechanic, giving me a music ad about Mike & the Mechanics somehow defeats the purpose of my profile’s “music” section being populated by the words “Everything you Hate” and not “All I Need Is a Miracle.” And, of course, there are those hot women in the 201 beckoning me still and should I fail with any (all) of them, I could always click on the link to the “Sexual Mishaps Club” because apparently I am a much bigger failure at this dating thing that even I realized so far.
There are tonnes of reasons for me to do more situps (because, obviously I’m fat and out of shape and that’s the reason I can’t get a date, I got it now!) but the ad right below it about being someone’s handy man well… now, that’s another story. Truth be told if I were that handy, my profile might say “married to…” but I actually think the ad is less spammy than that and simply wants to know if I’m too lazy to fix my apartment myself and need someone to come do it for me.
My personal favorite though is the Hot Cherry Pie ad. Not sure how this got associated to me. Maybe it was the recipe references. But this is not for food, it’s for a costume. Not just any costume either, but a “oh my you’re sure to make grown men cry” type of costume. I can only fathom it got confused between “Interested in: Women” in my profile and a recent Homer Simpson quote I posted regarding women’s underwear. Can you see it now, me in a Hot Cherry Pie costume strait out of the Warrant video? Yeah, that’ll make you wrech in your mouth.