Advertisements: they're targeting YOU
Have you ever noticed that the advertisements on Facebook are all geared towards your hobbies and interests? Isn't it strange that one day you tweet about your dog and now 50 dog-walkers and pet stores follow you? This is no coincidence; it is a form of marketing. By seeing a users activities and interests on Facebook, advertisement agencies can purchase ad space on the site and market towards a specific demographic. Advertisers gatherbasic information from users pages and then buy boxed ads that go along the border of their Facebook pages.
I don't log on to Facebook searching for lacrosse ads, but nevertheless they stream down the side of my page. This is because I have previously "liked" a lacrosse item or figure and advertising companies have targeted that. This is a very strategic tactic that is being used within the social network, and quite frankly I like it!
I'm sure many people perceive this ad campaign as creepy, invasive and all together too personal, but I'm not sure they understand how this targeting works. It is anonymous; the ad agencies do not know you. They are simply looking at statistics such as your city, your age, and your interests, to find the demographic they want to appeal towards. You are not "Sarah" or "Paul" to these advertisements, you a merely a 20-year-old girl or a boy who plays football.
Take a second and look at the benefits of having such technology. We live in a world where the media is inescapable; where everyone is trying to sell you something. Instead of advertisements that may have been otherwise meaningless to you, they are now beneficial. To go off of my previous example, I coach lacrosse. Therefore, I often need coaching supplies, and how great is it to see a deal on some new sticks when I might not have thought to search for them previously?
This technology is brilliant since the ads are no longer being wasted on people who would have no concern for a product or service. The ads appeal to the demographic they were intended for and seeing as we are already so immersed in Internet and television which are flooded with advertisements, wouldn't you prefer that they at least be catered to your interests?
If you are worried about these sites getting into your business, then change your privacy settings. That is what they are there for. No one has to see or know what you do not want to be seen or known about yourself. You chose to put yourself and your profile online. No one else made you do it.
Let's face it- we are going to be barraged by advertisements for the rest of our life, as our environment becomes ever more competitive to sell. It is up to the discretion of the buyer to be educated and smart as far as their choices when it comes to what influences them.
Regardless of the technology, if you're perceptive, you will be aware of what these companies are trying to sell you and push onto you everyday. As long as you are aware that marketing companies will continue to try and take advantage of you, it is probably best that you at least see some ads that hold relevance to your life.