Several weeks ago, I added an event in my calendar related to a friend called “Darren”.
Then, on the day of the event, as I was scrolling through Instagram, I spotted the following advert:
Quite a coincidence, right?
Or, is it, instead a creepy feature of personalisation?
When faced with this type of dilemma, I usually go for the simplest explanation (the Occam’s razor principle of problem solving). I.e., it’s just a coincidence.
However, if it is a coincidence, it is quite an incredible one, don’t you think? Darren isn’t even a very common male name for someone in our age group…
Did you come across this advert? Is this just an incredible coincidence, or is this an example of powerful, but creepy, personalisation?
One thought on “Incredible coincidence, or creepy personalisation”
It sounds creepy. Except, by an incredible coincidence, yesterday I was searching my emails for a contact called Darren! I couldn’t remember his surname, but a trawl through my messages brought up the fact that I have been in touch with 5 Darrens. 4 of them are in the building trade, one in the motor industry. So my feeling is that it is a common enough name, although maybe not in middle class circles. I have no friends called Darren, the nearest being someone who has the Irish spelling of the name. It’s quite easy to see a pattern in things where no pattern exists. It is easy to get paranoid, that the tech companies are spying on us and giving us extreme personalized advertising. Except we know that they are doing just that, particularly with smart in-home devices. Online, paranoia is a healthy state of mind.
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