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Not Like The Other Like: A Sesame-Tastic Interactive Multi-Media Blog-Sperience

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.

My current ad feed---I eat too much sugar, and Facebook knows it. What else does this say about me?

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:

13 comments to Not Like The Other Like: A Sesame-Tastic Interactive Multi-Media Blog-Sperience

  • Chris

    Well, mine has been pushing maternity dresses, a Christian dating site, and a black body builder club, which makes perfect sense since I will never be in need of a maternity dress, I’m already married and play pretty loose on religion, and body builders kind of skeeve me out.

  • I LOVE your mom. LOVE. That little tidbit about her lying to Netflix has made my entire day. As of this moment, FB seems to think that I like giving surveys (which I do as part of my job, so OK); opening credit cards and/or refinancing debt (um, I guess? not really…); 6-inch leopard print stripper shoes (I do like shoes, but I could fall over even just looking at that particular pair, much less trying to stand or God forbid WALK in them); getting “likes” on FB (a company promises to help you get more likes because…? maybe because I’m admin on some work FB pages?); and dog food (I do have 2 dogs so OK).

  • Jenn

    One of my earliest FB friends is Swedish and so often posts things in Swedish and has other people commenting in Swedish. Then recently I caught-up with an old college friend who is also Swedish and living in Sweden and when I friended her FB just didn’t know what to think and suddenly all my ads and suggested posts were in Swedish. It was awesome! Unfortunately, it lasted only about 3 months and then everything reverted back to English.

  • Facebook seems to think I need cable and/or satellite television. I assure you, I do not. I’m quite content with Netflix and my AppleTV, thankyouverymuch. Facebook also thinks I should care more about what Elizabeth Warren is saying, and I DO like her, but HOW DOES FACEBOOK KNOW THAT?!? Also, Facebook thinks I should be a social worker. I’m not sure what that’s saying about me, but I already have a job where I take care of my kids, periodically take care of other’s kids and DO NOT GET PAID. Facebook thinks I like shoes (I do) and furniture (I do, but almost never buy) so the ads are non-starters.

    Also? Facebook keeps peppering me with suggestions that I like the TV show “White Queen” (about Elizabeth Woodville, Edward IV wife and sister-in-law to Richard III). Now, here’s the thing. I just finished reading “The Sunne in Splendour” by Sharon Kay Penman. It’s a fictional retelling of King Richard III’s life and death . It has a whole different take on the missing princes and his ascension to the throne after having his brother’s children declared bastards by Parliament and the Church. ANYWAY. I didn’t announce to anyone that I was reading this book, but since I started it, I have been BOMBARDED by adverts and weird mentionings of Plantagenets. Plantagenets, War of the Roses, Yorkists, and Lancastrians ARE EVERYWHERE. It’s weird.

  • erinanne

    I posted on the book of face the other day that I liked ONE, count ’em ONE story about Tennessee’s response to USC firing Lane Kiffen and now keep being told that I need to like all things Volunteers. This is despite my weekly Saturday ‘Go Dawgs’ posts.

    It also appears that I like vintage dresses and cute shoes (these things are true), am in need of a dating site (semi-true), but most interestingly, I keep getting an ad for Bethany Christian Services about what to do if I suddenly find myself in a family way.

    I do not remember ever having googled, liked, or otherwise needed to talk to a family planner, so I have no idea where that one came from.

  • Brigitte

    Facebook thinks I love couponing. The few times I ever clip a coupon at all, it ends up crumpled at the bottom of my purse until about three years past the expiration date.
    Other than that, I apparently eat, play games and listen to music all day. I WISH!

  • Kacie

    Sometimes the ads are suggestions based on what your friends post to your page or like themselves. FB seems to take the leap that if you are for real life pals with that person, you automatically like all the same things they do and FB wants you to push a button to prove it.

  • Elizabeth

    And I have ads for dog training and Christian schools. I have neither a dog nor a school age child… so…I dunno.

  • Jill W.

    Facebook gets my “targeted ads” all wrong. It want’s me to gather my courage and go back to school. But I have a doctoral degree–I am a lawyer. Unlikely that I will be going back to school. Like Jen the Goddess, it wants me to buy crazy high heeled shoes that I could never wear. If it would show me an ad for super-comfortable-shoes-that-don’t-look-too-old-ladyish, I’d click that ad!

  • I like you and I confess I do like the Hammertime flash mob, but I love your mom. I now have the urge to really mess with Netflix…

  • My FB ads keep telling me to get a degree in psychology. Apparently, FB thinks I am not very good at psychology and need to be better at it because I already have TWO perfectly good degrees in psychology. It is on to my grammar fixation, though. Too bad that doesn’t mean it will automatically correct all the “your/you’re” and “there/their/they’re” mistakes.

  • Tanya

    I wonder if my husband has been “faking out” Netflicks. I asked him why I had all these recommendations for soft porn lesbian movies and TV series, and he said he had no idea. But, he is retired and home during the day…

    On a serious note, I have not a clue what FB wout adveroffer me. I don’t actually look. Yes, I am one of those persons who actually has never clicked a side add or even looked at what they are offering. Because I don’t actually care. If I want the leopard shoes, I would google them my very self and find a vendor closest to me, because shopping local rocks.

  • edj

    Ok, seriously, I love your mother. Am tempted to do that too except my children would prob believe the lies. Sigh…

    When we lived in Morocco, FB was always giving me ads for single Muslim women. I am a woman, I’m happily married, and we’re not Muslim. Go figure. I think FB gets its ideas from your friends too. I’m not conservative but I have a lot of friends who are and I get a lot of politically conservative ads, which I snort at. Also a lot of ads for boots. I would love new boots, so they did get that one right.