They Are Watching Us

spy eyes

I am going to start this whole blogging process by potentially appearing as if I am some kind of conspiracy theorist. A number of years ago, a close friend of mine lenFeed(novel)t me a book by the author M. T. Anderson. The genre of Feed (2001) is young adult science fiction, and is written in that satirical dystopian style that has become increasingly popular. The thing about Feed, to me, is its haunting yet somewhat realistic premise. Corporation is government. The population is constantly bombarded by the onslaught of consumer messaging via implanted chips —the new norm of technology. Advertisements are literally inside everyone’s heads, and they can no longer disconnect. “They” are always watching (sounds a little like 1984, doesn’t it?) and gearing unique messaging to individuals from an advantageous perspective.

How far are we, really, from this potential reality?

Right … I know we don’t have chips implanted in our heads. But what about our regular curiosities via our web searches? When you search for a thing, any given thing …or place, or activity, or person …have you noticed increased marketing at you in those little sidebar or banner ads that tie back to that exact place, activity, or person for which you were searching? I understand how useful this can be from a marketing standpoint. Yet, in all of this, can there be a premise of having too much connectivity? The spin I see with this is that it is a lot of information geared at consumerism. “They” gather details for the sake of profiteering. It seems frighteningly easy to gather a lot of data about people these days —even from those of us who sometimes wouldn’t mind having a bit of anonymity.

Despite what you have read from me so far, though I think it can all be a bit creepy, I am entirely intrigued by how we can use these forces for good. We, too, can use our new media resources and these marketing tools that “they” use to make money off us, but rather to create a conduit for positivity in this ever-changing world. Instead of data-mining for profits …what about data-mining for social change?

(Jennifer Scheit)


6 thoughts on “They Are Watching Us

  1. I have noticed this as well and it drives me kinda crazy. I refer to it as “Oh look, Amazon is stalking me again”. I love the idea of using it for social change, instead of always trying to line someone’s pockets.

    1. I agree with your perception of feeling stalked, Cindy. Even simple web searches these days, from searching for a possible vacation destination to looking at bookshelves on the IKEA site … you’ll end up seeing similar marketing for days or weeks to come.

  2. Jennifer,

    I know where you can get a chip implanted in your hand, not your head. Take a quick trip to Sweden where a company will implant a chip in your hand for a mere $300.00. It replaces your security keys/badge, by having the card reader read your hand, so you can get to work quicker and be more ‘efficient.’ You can also have it coded with your contact information, allowing people to have data transferred to their phone when they hold their phone against the chip in your hand. Watch this funny video from the Today Show:

    P.S. The reporter never got into his office! We’re laughing now but.. but Katniss Everdeen is always being watched.


    1. Ugh … yes. That, Maria!
      I appreciate your Katniss reference, too, more than the Robocop reference from the video. It seems there could be a fine line between this play towards convenience versus the flip side of feeling as if corporations have their thumbs on our every interest.

  3. In a course I took last semester the professor had us google ourselves and it was INSANE how much information we could dig up about ourselves. One site even had a picture of the house I grew up in on it. Super scary!

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