I started a new habit a month ago.
It was a lark born from annoyance. It probably doesn't come across in my blog posts but I'm easily annoyed. Not many things annoy me but they burrow into flesh quickly and easily. Greed, stupidity, frustration, incompetence, selfishness, computers, war, murder, torture, consumerism, politics, rudeness, slavery, discrimination, inequality, intolerance, and the general realm of bullshit annoys me, but that's about it.
Whenever you search for something on the 'net, it begins populating your pages' ads with that item. Look for Vegas flights, you receive travel ads focusing on Vegas but including other getaway sites. Buying computer security? Here's a plethora of onsite offerings. Grilled shrimp recipes? We have them right here.
To amuse myself, I've done searches on matters that don't interest me. Adult diapers. Vibrators. Thong underwear. And as expected, ads populated my screen. It's all quite amusing. Your computer software is supposed to be able to protect it. There's trade-offs, though. Yes, I can do private browsing but then, if I want to return to an article, I need to depend on my memory. There's trade-offs in that. And yes, you can block cookies or set up your system to approve it one by one - which gets hilarious as it's revealed just how many cookies some sites create. And you can manage site by site, create and manage your own white list and black list... There are unlimited choices with drawbacks and advantages to each.
Back to my game. I started searching as though I was young. What do the young look for on the net? Clothing? Shoes and games? Music? I honestly don't know. I turned to Yahoo for solutions and used their most popular searches. I looked for television news. Celebrity news. Oh, please, please, I need to know about Tom Cruise and his breakup. Tell me about Suri. And how about Siri's chatty new little sister? NFL players getting arrested for DUI. Fred Willard's escapades. Forget who is leading the latest open, how is Tiger Woods doing?
The wildfires were dominating along with Mitt's latest gaffe. Now we have the Aurora shootings, which has removed Mitt's tax returns as news. How will we refer to the Aurora murders? Will it remain a separate matter from Columbine, Ruby Ridge, Fort Hood, the Virginia Tech Massacre, the DC Sniper, the Tucson Shootings? Making it sadder, just before I heard the news, I was thinking of the old song, "Ohio", about the Kent State shootings. That had prompted me to recall the San Ysidro McDonald's massacre. Then here comes the Aurora news. I couldn't believe what I was hearing.
Strict security has been imposed at theaters. Guards hired. Costumes banned. Showings closed. Sort of like closing the barn door after the horse is out. News stations camped outside theaters, crews interviewing managers, "Have you had many calls?" People outside being asked, "How do you feel about the shootings in Aurora? Are you afraid?" One of my friends stayed glued to the television, watching the news all day yesterday, waiting for more news about the Aurora shooting.
Meanwhile, on the net and computer, searches for people and news doesn't affect my ads, unless I look for political news. Then campaign ads appear. "Click if you approve of the job Barack Obama is doing." Seriously. And what I've concluded from my experience that began a joke?
The Internet follows the money.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com