Sophie McCook

BBC Scriptwriter & Author of New Book Thinkless

Even though everybody on the Western World already owns everything we will need forever, as well as all the stuff for our children and grandchildren, the Internet still wants to sell us things.

Plus, they don’t want to waste time messing around with argument and persuasion. Leave that to the politicos. Thanks to the powers of GoogleBook your every move on the dance floor is poured into this big cauldron * and stirred. Sprinkle on some George Orwell powder and when they turn a tap at the bottom, the juice that comes out is basically your advert stream.

And it’s as close to what you really want to see as home brew is to Guinness. The adverts tend to approximate in the most disastrous ways; far enough to disengage you but close enough to offend you. Is THIS what they think of me and my life? And how do they know I momentarily thought about pandas last week? Every station between Daily Mail Annoyed and Dan Brown Paranoid may well be called at, but in conclusion, the best lesson to take from your advert stream is to know not to date an algorithm because they will never truly ‘get’ you.

I turned from 30- to 40-something recently. I’ve noticed that my adverts changed in a blink of an eyelash from ‘check THESE macaroons out’ and ‘free make up samples’ to ‘Boot Camp for mums’ and ‘SHOCKING!! Miranda Hart’s top tip for melting fat is….click here.’

As far as I know, the best way to melt fat is on a griddle, before adding bacon. But I’ve never clicked here. to discover Miranda’s shocking truth.

So taking a look at me, a white middle class lady with children and a passing interest in the freedom of lab beagles.

The first three ‘suggested posts’ (adverts) on my Facebook stream today include:

Russell Crow stars as NOAH!
He’s a non swimmer with a power hammer and he’s coming for YOU, matched animals!
(Sorry, only the first line is the actual advert.)

So they know I like movies. Probably everyone’s got this one – it’s Russell Crow, so they’ve spent money on it and as they’re pushing it, they’re already worried about the returns. After all, a 300 cubit long vessel costs, even at scale. Actually maybe ‘Noah’ has nothing to do with flooding and playing snap with the animals. I could click here to tell me more, but…

Next up is: ‘Teach Starter. 84 weather related words in school fonts to add to your classroom weather wall.’

They’ve tried so hard. They’ve sussed I’m in teacher training and I’m British, teaching British kids in Britain, so of course I need 84 words for weather. How else will the children of the future be able to queue and make small talk without this vital vocabulary? Apart from a Weather Wall being so much less interesting than a Wonderwall, they’ve not got the data right as I’m training as a Waldorf Steiner teacher. The whole WS movement looks at algorithms as a cat gazes down on humanity. WS doesn’t teach kids reading until 7. But hey, we dig weather but then, we would only use one of the many wonderful ‘Waldorf fonts’ wrought in crayon or chalk.

Finally, my favourite.

Suggested Post:
How long have you waited to hear these GLORIOUS words?

These guys have no idea, at all. They’ve not even tried to get the english to scan. Maybe I should introduce them to ‘teach starter.’ The idea of my being being pregnant, now, after doing so well at not being pregnant for 15 years would be followed by the glorious words ‘Oh Shit!’ and ‘It’s all your fault!’ and ‘pass the gin’ and ‘I wish I’d dated an algorithm.’

Just to make double sure this non-computing is across the board, I ask my 19 year old son what Facebook thinks of him. Admittedly he likes to mess with the meta data but currently he has:
-Glam Up. Get white teeth NOW.
-Firewood, logs, kindling.
-1001 vocal samples
-You’ll never guess what this Amish community does?
-Christian Dating.
-Gardening supplies, ie 2 for 1 on fertiliser.
‘And I get so much foreign rugby’ he concludes with a sigh.

So. Take from Facebook adverts what you will, everything but the actual products. Never ever, click here

*So, ps. Those cauldrons, the kind that witches used to use, and cannibals for cooking missionaries – is that line out of production now? Does Le Creuset do it? I want one. There’s an advert I DO want to see….



2 thoughts on “Sell Me Something, or Never Date an Algorithm

  1. Wanda says:

    It’s hard to find your articles in google. I found it on 13 spot, you should build quality backlinks , it will help you to get more
    visitors. I know how to help you, just type in google – k2 seo

    1. Thanks Wanda, I’ll look in to it…. X

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