Friday, December 21, 2007

Spies like us

Charles here.

First, kudos to Vicki for all the great work on the blog. Unfortunately now I’ll have to write more interesting entries to live up to that new look, but if she’s willing to do all that work I have to at least try. And she certainly has been busy, what with the new radio show and all. Way to make us all feel like slackers, and just in time for the holidays, too! Where’s my bottle of Old Smuggler?

Now skip down to Debby’s blog about government spying.

I used to be real worried about how the government is keeping tabs on ordinary citizens, keeping track of what we read and what we watch, how we vote and where we travel, who we hang out with and what we feel deep in the deepest parts of our hearts. I’ll tell you, it was scaring the heck out of me that somebody, somewhere knew every damn thing about me.

Then I became an ad man.

Us advertisers? We already know all there is to know about you. What you like, what you hate, what you want and want you dream about late at night. We know what you eat, where you eat it and how you like it cooked. We know your favorite bar, your favorite drink and your favorite song on the jukebox. We know what you did last summer, what you did last week and what you’ll do a week before you know what you’ll do. Your favorite authors, your political leanings, your secret porn watching habits? Down to the tiniest details. And best of all? We know how much you can spend on any of it.

And we got this information the easiest way possible. You told us. With every purchase, every survey, every Shoppers’ Club swipe, every coupon, ticket, call, visit and click. Oh and it’s not just that aggregate data you hear about, the kind where we identify demographic groups (Divorced White Females with College Education in the Greater Metro Area), we know YOUR data, too. True, it’s more valuable in the larger demo, but if we wanted to target you – as in you, specifically – we could do it.

An outrage? An affront to your independence? Hell, you gave us the info and checked, knowingly or otherwise, that it was fine and dandy for us to do whatever we want with the information. Honestly, if you didn’t give it to us, we couldn’t afford to get this information – it’s too detailed, too targeted and too accurate to buy.

“That may be true for most people,” I hear you saying, “but not me.” Sorry, unless you’re like Ted Kaczynski, living in some cabin in Montana, we got you. And even if you are in that cabin, if you’re reading these words, we got you. Oh, not us as in the folks behind this blog, I mean ad people. If you’re this connected, you’re ours.

So is government spying a real threat? Sure. For amateurs.


Anonymous said...

Why is Charles's picture smaller than everyone else's?

Anonymous said...

But at least the ad agencies aren't going to put you in jail if they don't like what they find. And if they make a mistake - it won't ruin someone's life.

Charles benoit said...

I don't know why my picture is smaller - I'll ask Vicki to put up a better one.

As for comment #2, you are correct and I realize this, but I never let a fact get in the way of a mindless ramble. And I do hope you know that my flippant approach is just for form's sake.