25 August 2010


The perils of advertising based on diametric characteristics.

I've seen the opposite end of this spectrum. As a single man, if you leave your status as "single" on facebook, you get deluged with the idea that you should be seeking out a prospective mate, or at least a mate for right now. All ads became dating websites and services. Now of course, I tend to ignore most of my advertisements as gratuitous spam. I myself have never procured any attractive dresses that way, for example. Though I'm sure some of the ads might be useful for me or for others, they are easy enough to ignore if you don't care for them. If you do however have even the occasional use for them then it might be troubling if they change their focus significantly based on otherwise trivial status updates.

And so the point still stands. Once you take the "relationship status" off the table, facebook's ad service doesn't bother you with the idea that you should be seeking a relationship. One assumes that a method around this problem for a young married woman is to simply invent mythical children, or to remove the relationship status of "married" and leave that as a private feature. Or some such. Though this is fraught with its own costs in the new social world dynamics. Ideally, like with the single young male's situation, it might be sufficient to simply not assume that everyone in that age bracket has a pressing interest in traditional relationship formats of dating-marriage-child rearing. Or that their disinterest or even lack of success at that format is automatically related instead to some sort of medical problem (depression, infertility, social anxiety, addiction, etc).

One would think that a network like Facebook would be actually fairly progressive about relationship norms given its popularity with mostly 20somethings. But perhaps 20somethings are not nearly as progressive as is popularly conceived either. It does seem to me however that "married" is far less of a significant status change in someone's life and life interests than "has child". Like as in, there isn't much of a change to get married, if any, while there's an enormous change when people have kids. Facebook should probably wait until the latter shows up in somebody's profile to start advertising stuff for infants and toddlers.
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