Just think of all the data ‘THEY’ are able to collect about us now that our entire lives have moved online. After this, I am expecting all my targeted ads on Facebook to become far more sophisticated and relevant to my actual life instead of the life ‘THEY’ think I lead.
This is, of course, bullshit, Vivian (Drag Race name drop right there). I have been leaving a digital footprint the size of a herd of yetis online for the last fifteen years and it’s still absolute nonsense. It seems to be a bit: ‘Two things she’s genuinely interested in from the top, Carol. Three things we have ascertained from random data scrapes we have about uptight middle aged women from the middle, and four things we’ve cobbled together from what her children do with her phone and that warehouse full of she-wees we have to get rid of so we’re just selling them to everyone from the bottom.’
The problem with ascertaining your life from algorithms is that they assume that you are the only one in charge of your online life and that you shop, browse etc just for yourself. They do not take into account the fact that you bought that Japanese pornography (I KNOW – IT’S ART) book for your daughter for Christmas, or that you bought that ten kilo sack of dog biscuits for your friend because they couldn’t drag it home by themselves. Or that your kid used to be hugely into magic tricks but is now hugely into Korean face masks and nobody wants a gimp mask, a collapsible wand and industrial sized bags of vegan kibble anymore, thanks Karen.
I was talking about this with my mum yesterday. My brother and I gave her Spotify Premium for her birthday and she’s loving it.
She and my dad have taken to playing Scrabble every afternoon. She said: ‘We listened to Spotify yesterday when we were playing Scrabble. It was very nice.’ I said: ‘Ooh, who were you listening to?’ She said: ‘The Ukulele Orchestra.’ I approve this message. They’re great. She carried on: ‘It was really lovely until it got stuck on the same song five times and your dad lost the plot.’ Long pause: ‘He still won Scrabble though, which was annoying.’
I would suspect that she did this on purpose except that I am fully aware of her digital prowess and know this is not the case. I hoped it was either their cover of Psycho Killer by Talking Heads or Teenage Dirtbag by Wheatus, because I have taken deep joy in imagining my dad with ear worms of either of these songs. Wandering around the house, dusting his Carnival Glass singing ‘Her boyfriend’s a dick. He takes a gun to school…’
Who am I kidding?
He’d never dust.
This morning I asked her what the song that broke him was. Turns out it was Bang Bang by Nancy Sinatra.
Ha ha ha ha!
This got us on to talking about which songs Spotify recommends for you. They make you daily playlists based on what you listen to. Mine are an absolute nightmare because the children use my phone in the car when we are listening to music. Consequently my daily recommendations have been littered with Grime and Country and Western thanks to Tallulah’s recent obsession with Stormzy and Oscar being really keen on Dolly Parton. And it’s not that I dislike either artist, but they don’t entirely go together naturally on a playlist.