Oh Best Beloveds, TOMORROW I am going to post a one SHORT succinct post that that explains The Virtual Book Tour without my usual 1,000 digressions. The new one will show ALL the prizes. *excite*
But today I want you to play this You Tube video, and as the nice lady sings I want you to look at the image just below, a screen capture of things our dear friend Facebook suggests that you might if you like me:
Here is the screen capture:
HOW DID YOU DO? The Alice Hoffman, Julia Spenser Flemings can be dismissed immediately…We are all three writers. I myself quite enjoy their books and think it likely that if YOU do too, you might like mine, and vice versa,
Did you guess Knopf? You may have. I am similar to a publishing house in that we both are in the book business, but also not similar at all in that KNOPF is a huge corporation in New York City with hundreds of supersmart employees with degrees from Brown and sleek hair, and I am a grumpy lady in dirty glasses wearing black, soup-stained yoga pants coated in cat fur.
I was thinking more of the Equal Rights Amendment. It seems like a leap. I did not, for example, break my own heart by failing to be ratified in 1982. Did you even know the ERA was on Facebook?
Well. It is. And I am similar to it, says the Algorithm. And okay, I am kinda known for writing strong female characters. Maybe I should just take it as a huge, weird, math-based compliment.
Let’s try again. Play the song. Here is another grouping that came up when a different friend hit my like button and did a screen capture for me.
Once again, we can dismiss the two writers. I have read and enjoyed them both, and see there might be some crossover. KNOPF? AGAIN? Apparently, if you like me, you should ask Knopf out for a drink and a snog.
But then – THE ENERGIZER BUNNY? Really, facebook??? I am SO DAMN OFFENDED.
But only because it is right.
I AM similar to that crazed, soulless, endlessly churning pink rabbit who goes grinding on into forever, unable to pause or rest or cease. I am terrified of that awful rabbit. That rabbit is a metaphor for my own insomnia and inability to simply BE. That rabbit is my WORST possible self, it is my weaknesses, it is everything I try not to be, including PINK. And here is Facebook, TELLING EVERYONE. I hate it because it is the true-est.Novelist, poet and known genius Julianna Baggott. is perturbed by this. She posted on Facebook—the very medium that CALLED ME A ROBOT BUNNY CHURNING ENDLESSLY INTO HELL— “I don’t know how to feel or how you should feel? Is it up to FB to say who you’re similar to? Tell me how to feel about this…I’m not sure how to think yet.”
I’ll tell you how my mom feels. SHE LIES TO NETFLIX.
Dad and I were going to watch a movie last week, and Netflix had all these crazy recs— ZAC AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO and SPEED RACER and some R rated Anime. Which, if you know my mom, you just snorted coffee out your nose.
But it’s because she LIES. She likes to star rate things at random, giving five stars to things she has never heard of, one starring her favorite old TV shows.
“Why would she do that?” I asked Dad. He said, “SHe doesn’t think it’s their business…” and Mom called from the kitchen, in an irked voice, “They don’t get to tell me what I like.”
As for me, at this point when technology oversteps I just kinda shrug and accept that this is how FB does things. And Google. And 90% of the internet and my own grocery store by my house with its horrid little tag you have to use to get things for Real price instead of Inflated price. There is a constant gleaning of info in the hopes that eventually advertisers can DL personally tailored ads for the soap you are most likely to swap to directly into your brain.
Julianna Baggott replied, “I think it’s my fear — considering the ads in the right column supposedly pegging me, I’m fearful. (First thing to come to mind? Sadly, the exposure of my love of throw pillows would be a humiliation. And my undying love of flashmobs to 80s music and… )
It’s FAST these days, guys. I joined MY FITNESS PAL last year, and the NEXT TIME I went to Facebook, I had all these Zulily ads with the body positive spin and plus sized models. As I got close to my goal, my fashion ads featured emaciated teenagers again.
What do you think? If it was YOU, personally, what would Facebook ASSOCIATE with you, and is that okay? Would your page views tell the world something humiliating about you, if a friend came by and saw what kinds of ads were tailored to you? Your mom? Your BOSS?
Right now my ads indicate I like READING, HGTV, ANIMALS BUT ESPECIALLY CATS, EATING ADVENTUROUSLY, LIQUOR and HOT YOGA. The embarrassing ones? Well, I like a Gossip Site. I like it a LOT, but it is LAINEY GOSSIP, which is a dern smart site. I’m not ashamed of reading Lainey—go listen to her TED TALK. But going to Lainey gets me some sad ads that indicate I care about whatever some Kardansian is doing and where Hannah Montana put her tongue.
Also, my book research could easily trick the algorithm into thinking I like guns and and bad sex and arson and that I want to hire a divorce lawyer, when really, I do not much like any of those things and my main character is the only divorce lawyer I need.
What are your memberships and views and likes SAYING about you? And what will the ads they generate say about you to others? What assumptions will be made when those ads show up on your easily-seen-by-your-visiting-prudish-sister sidebar? You can think about it while you watch this, which I am putting here mostly for JB and not because I secretly adore it and CERTAINLY NOT because math says that if you like me and Baggott, you will like this: