Social Media Advertising Can Be Spooky

I know advertisers team up with social media platforms to track users and target social media advertising to those user’s specific needs.  Many have been the times that I’ve searched for something, and for days afterward versions of what I was looking for pop up in on-site ads and in the sidebar of Facebook.

One time my buddy was telling me in an email how relieved has was that he finally backed over his weird  mailbox and destroyed it.  He sent me a link to a store page for a box that was very similar.  I agreed, I’d be relieved to be rid of it too.  In this case I did not search; I used a direct link in an e-mail.  Still these Victorian mail boxes kept popping up all over the place.  I had to do a couple of searches for things I didn’t care about just to be rid of them!

Marie puts the annoyance of social media advertising to work for her.  When she wants a new pair of shoes or a skirt for work, she does a search and checks her favorite places.  If she can’t find what she wants, she stops looking and goes into Facebook.  More often than not, there: in the side bar, is just what she wanted.

But the ad I saw today really got my neck hair up on end:

social media advertisingThat is a photograph.  Does this advertiser have some utility that stamps a name on a stock photo and serves it up on Facebook?  How do they avoid stupid stuff like “Lopez, another Celtic legend”?  Can it be that it’s hooked into a database that actually makes a good guess at a name’s origin?  I had to know…

I see a lot of sweatshirt ads.  Most are stock designs that have something to do with being a writer, or supporting pit bulls, or bear an encouraging bible verse: these things I expect to see because they are broad spectrum interests as well as being things I talk about.  A lot of people would buy those.  But “Bittinger” shirts?

I have encountered a few people with my last name who were not (to my knowledge) family members.  I once set up a Google Alerts utility to ping me whenever “Douglas Bittinger” showed up somewhere so I could see what people were saying about me and where.  I don’t really care all that much, it was just for grins.  But I started getting alerts about Douglas Bittinger being arrested (again) for beating his wife.  And others for Douglas Bittinger placing well in a marathon.  WHAT?

The runner Douglas turned out to be a State Trooper in Maryland.  We’ve connected on Facebook and joke about sharing a name.  He’s a nice guy who does good things and adores his wife.  The other Douglas Bittinger (aside from me) is a…well…let’s just say I’m happy to NOT be acquainted with him.

Despite these chance encounters, I’ve never thought the Bittinger name to be especially common.

So I clicked on the picture to go to the original post.  Not much more info there, but in the comments were a zillion people talking about how awesome it is to be part of the Bittinger family? I don’t know ANY of those people!  All of a sudden I find that Bittinger has something in common with Smith and Jones!

At least I don’t have to feel guilty about not ordering the shirt after they went to such trouble.

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