I’m 40. Hard enough without Facebook thinking I’m a hag
I was only 40 and a few hours old when I logged onto Facebook. Beside the celebratory messages from my friends, the sponsored ad banners had birthday greetings for me too: “Men seeking another chance at love with women over 40.” Thanks, Mark Zuckerberg. Happy birthday to you too. What are you now? 28?
Over subsequent days the mature age love ad was followed by: “Be the hot mum on walks”; “mum aged 55, looks 29” and “you don’t have to be fat”. However on reflection, these ads may represent more than that I was in Facebook’s old, bulgy, wrinkly advertising demographic.
As brought to cinematic life in The Social Network, Zuckerberg launched Facebook in 2004 as a purely a social contact site, first at Harvard, then through other universities and ultimately to the world.
But advertising is money. Within two years, banner ads appeared and sponsored invites from Chase Credit Card.The NFP San Francisco based Electronic Frontier Foundation warned back in 2007 that Facebook was planning to use personal data for advertising. By 2008, Facebook encouraged viral branding.
We should have listened. But we were too in love with Facebook to see where the relationship was going. So here we are, in 2012 receiving cringing, low rent, questionable ads promising miracle cures. Does Facebook really think I look that bad? Hasn’t it seen my profile pictures? Everyone but Facebook tells me I look good for my age.
Facebook wants to explain itself, like a badly behaved (40 plus) lover trying to spin how much they really care about you. No wonder we met online. I found their explanation: “Ever wonder why you see certain ads on Facebook? This video explains how our ad system works to show you relevant ads without sharing any of your personal information with advertisers. We think advertising is good for your overall experience on Facebook, and how it shows your relevant interests.” The video explains how advertisers choose profiles according to broad demographics or interests via keywords.
Despite our history and regular catch ups, I don’t think Facebook and I know each other very well then, because I’m not interested in drastic wrinkle reduction nor am I seeking online dating. I don’t mind the ads generated by likes – at least I see the direct connection and they aren’t so tacky.
I accidentally liked the Virgin Doug Pitt campaign so I now get Virgin ads. And shoe offers from online shopping The Iconic are a welcome relief too. I’m getting sensitive now. Maybe I just need to get more commercial and my ad stream won’t be so despairing. Or I need to get off Facebook.
It seems I’m not the only one not happy with Facebook. While still boasting 950 million friends, Facebook has declined in users over the last six months by 1.1 percent.
Not much when you are nearly tipping a billion, but still significant, nonetheless. In July, Bloomberg cited a report by Capstone Investments, which found that, “in the 23 countries where Facebook had at least 50 percent penetration, growth had changed little or in 14 nations, had declined.”
In May, Bloomberg also reported that Facebook risked annoying more users with their push into mobile ads, which Zuckerberg sees as the future. FB’s stock price increased when he asserted. “Now we are a mobile company,” at the TechCrunch Disrupt Conference in San Francisco earlier this month. Facebook also flagged taking on Google, as a social research engine and has done a deal with Skype.
To this effect, David Kirkpatrick, author of The Facebook Effect said on that other social media super-success, Twitter:(@davidkirkpatrick) “Everybody loves to complain - but fb knows if it doesn’t keep changing and innovating, it will fall. This will never stop.” But hopefully the mature age love birthday greetings will before Zuckerberg turns 40 too. He won’t like it either.
Comments on this post close at 8pm AEST.
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…