Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Facebook status: Having you recommend any products?

A recent survey of 1,000 U.S. adults who use social networks revealed that 30% of Facebook and Twitter users check their accounts every time they wake up during the night. Another study showed that 46% of women and 30% of men would rather go without sex for two weeks than give up Internet access for the same length of time.
Well, it appears some folks are mashing up these seemly conflicting activities into a single act of public/private sex.  A recent published survey found that 7% of Facebook users would look at messages and/or text during sex. What the actual content of these messages and posts were not part of the research, but you can just imagine (yes you can...keep trying).
As stunning as that sounds, other studies have shown that 25% of men think about baseball statistics during coitus, while 19% of women check the condition of their cuticles whilst making love.  So multitasking during sex is not new...but using your “Droid” during the act has some new weirdness to it.
Combine this trend with Facebook’s new behavioral advertising targeting system and some really interesting things can happen...especially for those who want to sell you something.  
Here’s how their new system works:  Facebook takes every little thing you say about yourself in your “Profile” settings and puts it into a giant database, which then blends you with millions of others who have similar interests.  
For example, if you list “Dr. Strangelove” as one of your favorite movies, you are now in a giant population of folks who also love the movie.  If a company were to design a product especially for Dr. Strangelove fans, such as a custom wheel chair or even a special “atomic glove”, then ads for said products would pop up on the home pages of the movie’s fans.
Even if you haven’t listed the movie in your profile, if you mention it in a message or post, you are also put in the pool of fans.  In fact, if you text the words “strange love”  while you are having sex, you will probably be getting custom wheel chair offers the very next day, but I suspect the “atomic glove” would be more appealing in this case.
Many people think these targeting capabilities from Facebook are an invasion of their privacy...yet these are the same folks who will post the details of their wild night out complete with the horrible symptoms of their ensuing hangover.  Rule of thumb in the Internet not put anything on a website or even your email or texts that you don’t want someone to see.
With that said, is it so bad that companies can target their advertising to folks who are actually interested in their products?  To me, nothing is more irritating than having to endure an advertisement for a product I would never buy.  
Case in point: Dr. Pepper, “I’m a Doctor” ads.  To me Dr. Pepper is liquid candy and concentrated caffeine suspended in what appears to be brown drool.  There is probably no drink on the market that could be worse for you, yet they have the nerve to have “Doctors” recommend it.  
Of course, you say, no one believes these people are real doctors....but these are the same people who are stupid enough to drink Dr. Pepper.  This is the old style behavioral targeting which basically says, “Let’s make a stupid product and aim it at stupid people...and then market it on stupid TV shows with ridiculously inane spots.
In contrast, in today’s world, the ads are focused on exactly what you like and want.  In a strange new way, it unclutters your life, and surrounds you with you (and the several million people who are just like you). 

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