The Reach beta was fun. That fun is now over, and we're stuck waiting until the fall to give a shit about Halo again. Please use this comic as a mixer to turn that harsh shot of reality into a delicious cocktail.
We actually had a decent amount of fun playing Halo 3 multiplayer last night, but I definitely want to limit my consumption to one night a week. I've never done acid before, but I imagine some of the memories I was reliving during our rounds rival even the strongest flashback.
I'm going to talk about advertisers, Facebook and privacy right now. If you don't want any of that jelly, you can skip to the end for a joke about STDs.
A great deal has been said about the privacy issues Facebook has been serving up, so much so that I'm forced to ask the following question: did people really think that they could indefinitely use a service like Facebook, for free, without their personal data being sold to advertisers?
I haven't spent a great deal of time thinking about it, mostly because I don't use Facebook a lot, nor do I have any expectation of privacy on it. I never have. It's like the customer rewards program at the grocery store; I expect them to sell my purchasing habits and demographical data to advertisers in exchange for savings that, over time, become not insignificant.
And you know what? I'm okay with that. I don't care because I don't pay attention to messages from advertisers, or at least not ones that try to reach me the way these barbarians do, storming the gates of my awareness with junk mail and flashing banner ads. I ignore it all. And so do most people.
Advertisers have had enough of that. They have a very simple formula; reach the largest number of interested people at the least cost. Spam emails and junk mail take care of the first and third parts. It's the interested part that's giving them a hard time, and why Facebook is in such an great position. They have both millions of people's personal information in a well-indexed, constantly updated format and a large group of businesses extremely interested in buying it for lots and lots of money.
The best case scenario is that Facebook restricts its usage of your personal data to its own advertising network, but who cares what the source of the advertisements are?
Sure, people could stop using Facebook. But they probably won't. Maybe we'll see a "Facebook Premium," where for a small fee you can rest assured that you'll remain invisibile to advertisers.
Advertising wants to be hyper-personalized, responding to your every need before you even realize you were missing something. The only way to do that is with access to the kind of information that people have been happily and freely sharing on Facebook. For example: Hey! We noticed you talk with your friends about XBOX games a lot. Did you know that Amazon has a great three-for-two deal on this year's Platinum Collections? Here's a link...
The joke about STDs (as promised)
Or, even more intrusive: So you've started dating Bobby? Yeah, we know Bobby. You might be interested to know that Trojan and Valtrex are on sale for the next ten minutes here...
Gmail already does this (to a less funny, more realistic degree), and so does Facebook. More places will follow, and the more powerful software becomes in its ability to make connections between disparate pieces of data, the more targeted ads will become.
Herein endeth my thoughts on the matter, and I won't bother you with them again.
Did you guys see the latest 30 Rock? Man, that Kenneth Ellen is a character.