Lately, I’ve been browsing Instagram for the advertisements.
I like to think that targeted advertisements are the algorithm’s way of looking around at the piles of data that exist and telling us what we really want. In some way, one can use targeted advertisements as a form of introspection: “what does who I am or what I do… say about what I want?”, or at least “what do I look like I want?”.
There’s something quite surreal about many of the ads I get. I think that property comes from the fact that many of them are individuals sponsoring their own accounts rather than large corporations. In fact, I seldom get ads from companies that would have any business purchasing a billboard or a TV commercial.
I’m not sure if my experience is unique. I’m not sure why many of these ads exist or if I’ve somehow tripped up the algorithm by engaging with them. I’m not even sure if people find them as surreal or interesting as I do. But at least for my sake, I wanted to document them here.