More than you realize


I've been seeing the same few ads on Facebook lately.  They're not interesting, they're not relevant, and they are getting kind of annoying after seeing them over and over again.

So today I just clicked "Hide Ad" to get rid of it and noticed that Facebook had a message where I could change my advertising settings.

Always one to give feedback, I clicked on the link and I was amazed to see how much Facebook had learned about me.  I'm Tech-Savy so I know that every app I connect to my Facebook Account teaches them a little bit more about me.  I also know how much my computer tells Facebook about me every time I access their website from my phone or computer.

So I was completely unsurprised to see myself in the following categories:

          Gmail Users (my logon is a gmail address, so that was a given)
          Primary OS Windows 10
          WiFi Connection
          All iOS Devices
          3G (US)
          Primary Browser: Chrome

I thought it was interesting, but—again—not surprising that I was in these groups:
          iPad Air 2
          iPhone 5S
          All Mobile Devices
          Smartphone Owners

And given that I had it listed on my profile, I wasn't surprised to see current and past employers and schools listed on this page, too.

The things that did surprise me, though, are the things that I never even considered that a company would keep tabs on or take time to get to know about me.

Lifestyle & Culture

          Christian
          (08-12 Years) Parents with Preteens
          (01-02 Years) Parents with Toddlers
          Away from hometown
          Away from family
          US Politics (Very Conservative)
          Likely to Engage in Politics (Conservative)
          Commuter
          Photo Uploaders
          Technology early adopters
          Millennials
          Family Based Households


News & Entertainment

          Grammar
          The Big Bang Theory
          Science Fiction Convention
          Fan Convention

People 

          Nathan Fillion (Well of course, has he ever made a bad show?)

Travel, Places & Events

Here Facebook has made note of the town that I live in, the county that I live in, and even the fact that I live in the county seat.

As both a millennial and someone who piddles and fiddles around with gadgets and technology, I'm not at all surprised that tabs are being kept on us.  Knowing that every little decision we make can be used in advertising and marketing doesn't at all surprise me, but seeing the categories that I've been lumped into just simply based on what I share, like and comment on...that kinda brings things home to me.

And it makes me think about my witness as a Christian, too.

I'm grateful and proud that some of my labels are "Christianity" and "Very Conservative" and "Family Based Households".  How humiliating would it be if my labels were associated with inappropriate websites or secret behaviors?  What if Facebook was telling advertisers things about me that I wouldn't even tell my closest friends?  How would I feel if I stood before everyone I knew and had that list scrolling behind me for everyone to read?  I didn't find anything embarassing on mine...but I also didn't have a Facebook page back before I was a mom.  My teen years weren't documented on social media.  A good portion of my mistakes (thankfully) haven't been immortalized through the internet.

What would our kids marketing tags say?  What will they say when they're our age?

Maybe now is a good time to stop thinking about what to say on Facebook and start thinking about what our Facebook says about us...
Ashley Harris Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.