Saturday, March 18, 2017


Do you ever feel like "Big Brother is watching you?" I have that experience pretty regularly. Especially when I participate in Facebook.

I first noticed it last year. The primary grade students at our school usually do an extended author study every spring. As part of the unit, they make T-shirts from their favorite book, then wear them to field day. The kids love them, and the teachers have an easier time keeping track of their kids.

Last year, I helped the first grade teachers order their t-shirts. They were nothing fancy, just plain white t-shirts, as cheap as we could get them. The next day, and every day after that for about two weeks, my Facebook page was inundated with ads for little boys' underwear.

It took me a day or so to figure out why I was getting the ads. My boys are not little. They don't wear Size 6 Fruit of the Looms. And then I happened to mention it to one of the first grade teachers and she explained that it was because I purchased the t-shirts for the author study.

It actually felt a little creepy. First, I was kind of worried about what people would think about an old lady who searches children's underwear sites. It just felt weird. And then, I didn't like the idea that
Facebook was watching me. It just felt icky.

But I've noticed the phenomena pretty regularly ever since. With me, it's mostly about books, because that's mostly what I buy. And it doesn't just have to do with what I post publicly. Recently, a friend messaged me about buying a bathing suit for an upcoming trip. She was was talking about how expensive bathing suits are. And about how buying a bathing suit made her feel extra large. I concurred. And mentioned the name of a company that supposedly has attractive, not super expensive bathing suits. And ever since then, I have been receiving bathing suit ads. From that company. And from others. And especially for plus sized women. And with bargain prices. A little creepy.

The "Big Brother is Watching You" phenomena took an interesting twist this week. About a week ago, I saw an ad for a pair of high top tennis shoes with books on them. I loved them. I clicked on the ad, and saw that they were pretty expensive. But they were really fun. I didn't buy them then. But they kept coming up. And every time I would look at them, I wanted them. Sort of unusual for me, because I'm really not a shopper, or a clothes horse. And they were kind of expensive.

But I really liked them.

And today they came up again. And it was a hard day. I didn't lose any weight on my weekly weigh in. In fact, I gained a pound. I came home and  cleaned up the kitchen and ran the dishwasher. And then my son cleaned his room and left a huge pile of dishes on the kitchen counter. And we had a fight. And then I graded papers. That were supposed to be finished ten days ago. And they still aren't done. And I have a ten page paper due myself on Tuesday. And I haven't started it.

 So the shoes came up again today. And I clicked on them. And bought them.

Because sometimes maybe the universe, or at least Big Brother knows what you need.


Becky Leff said...

I have also noticed that Facebook phenomenon. I was helping a 4th grader research an essay, which was on orphans. I was actually trying to dissuade her from writing an essay about orphans. But I searched and then started getting ads on adopting and fostering children. I liked your twist at the end of the post -- I didn't see that coming!

elsie said...

Enjoy those shoes Carol! I guess the constant barrage of ads found a weak moment and you took it. Sometimes we need something fun in our lives. I have a pair of red high tops that have Tweety bird on them. Haven't worn them in 23 years, but perhaps my granddaughter will grow into them.

Linda B said...

I love the shoes, but notice the ads of things I've bought in news articles, too! I bought a new bed this year from an online site, and their ads are everywhere! It is strange but we at least know what they're doing.