On the one hand, it’s sort of impressive (in a Big Brother’s watching, creepy sort of way, but I completely understand how it’s done and there’s potentially as much good as evil, so I’ll let it stand) how Twitter is able to track where you are and insert ads based on that.
For example, when I went to visit the Norfolk / Virginia Beach area at the beginning of June I started to immediately get ads in my Twitter feed for businesses in the northeast Virginia area. (The Twitter app saw what network I was connected to, communicated that back to the mother ship, and Mother started feeding ads for that area – simple.)
At risk of giving them ideas though, I have to wonder at the TYPE of ads I got. Almost all of them were for things like car dealerships, utilities, industrial consultants, and so on. With all of the data they have, why aren’t they about 99.9% sure that I live in Southern California? (I mean, simply based on where I’m always connected from, down to the cell tower(s) nearest my home and office.) And if that’s the case and I suddenly vanish for five hours and then show up in Virginia, how hard is it to figure out that I’m travelling? It’s probably irrelevant for a first cut analysis to know if I’m travelling for business or pleasure.
If you know I’m travelling, why would I want a utility company? Or a car dealership? Or a light industrial park real estate ad? How about restaurants? Tourist traps? Theaters?
As invasive and even more creepy as that might be, it might actually be useful.
But then, here I am back at home, well over a month later, and I’m still getting ads like this:
Sure, I would love to save energy and money. But for this ad to have anything to do with my reality I would have to have be spending at least $0.01 on power or gas or water or some sort of utility in the Delaware – Maryland – Virginia area.
To repeat, I’ve been back in Los Angeles for over a month.
For an app that has functions that can be really clever, this one can be pretty freakin’ stupid at the same time!