As a college student, I think it’s pretty standard to say that we (as college students) can’t exactly afford to spend extravagantly. Since I’ve always been a naturally cheap and thrifty person, I’ve been able to handle the situation moderately well. However, I’d say this extends more so to “real life” shopping.
What I tend to do when online shopping is spend forever picking items to fill my shopping cart, stare at the shopping care anxiously for a while, and then in a moment of clarity close the window. I have this internal debate of “but this dress will look so nice on me and I need it because it’ll be perfect for that thing I’m going to” and then “but do you actually need it and can you actually afford it?!” So when I finally exit the window to the online store, I try and distract myself from thinking of the items by browsing the internet. Which, of course, includes social media platforms like Facebook.
So there I am browsing on Facebook seeing what my friends have been up to when suddenly – an advertisement! For the same online store I was just browsing with pictures of the same items. Just when I had forced myself to not shop – I was being shown items that would tempt me to spend money. My poor bank account.
It’s both interesting and scary that websites, social media, and the internet in general are able to track our movements throughout the inter webs. My situation with online shopping is what first allowed me to see exactly how my movements are tracked. What’s even more scary is when I realized that Facebook (and more broadly: social media) allows for tracking on all devices. For instance, if I searched an online website on my cellphone, I would get ads on Facebook on my laptop for the same website.
The connection between online tracking and social media is startling but honestly not surprising. It makes sense that these websites would track my movements – particularly those related to spending money. Money which companies want and they will do what they can to ensure that they are catering specific advertisements to their customers.
I’ve now become used these catered advertisements while on Facebook and browsing the internet, but while I am aware of why it happens, I can’t say that I am unaffected by this ingenious marketing that in a way is an invasion of my privacy.
While I lightly touched on this topic, it would be interesting to hear your comments. How do you feel about your online shopping being tracked? Do you find that it works on you?