Every Bond You Break

It’s currently the middle of the uni trimester, I’m 6 or 7 weeks off finishing for the year, neck deep in assignments, and the only thing on my mind (apart from studying, of course) is going on a holiday far far away.

Now, I’m a 19-year-old, 5’4, blue haired, emotional teenage dirtbag *baby* (not that it’s relevant, but I’m setting the scene here), so naturally, I wouldn’t be able to go off exploring the world on my own, I’d go in a guided tour like Contiki or Intrepid where I’d be with other people such as myself.

So I go and I do my sleuthing around on Google looking for trips and deals, and not 15 minutes later I’m on Instagram and LO AND BEHOLD THIS.

screenshot by Josie-Amber O’Neill, “Sneaky Instagram Ploy”, taken 18/08/2016

Yes, that’s right ladies and gentlemen. That right there, is a targeted advertisement. On my Instagram feed. But how did it get there?

Social networking sites such as Facebook and Instagram allow for ads to be generated targeting the user of the device based on their recent search history, the contents of their email (I’ve discussed Googles dabblings in emails in a previous blog post) (Johnson, 2013), and this certainly isn’t the first time I’ve been greeted with ads on Facebook and Instagram for things I’ve recently searched for online (online shopping is a curse).

screenshot by Josie-Amber O’Neill, “Damn, Contiki, back at it again with the white ads”, taken 18/08/2016

So why do we keep seeing these ads on our social media? Don’t they just get annoying? I mean, who’s going to buy into that kind of a marketing scheme?

Me. And many, many, many others. According to Malte Brettel (2015), there is clear evidence that these advertisements on social media work; prolonged exposure to advertisements and prolong the persons ad recall, their awareness for the product, and their intent to purchase the product. In short – the more I see the thing, the more I’m going to want the thing, and the higher the chance of me actually buying the thing.

While many people would argue that this is an annoyance, and that they don’t want a Big Brother type figure watching over them, Doug Chavez, the global head of marketing research and content at Kenshoo (and advertising company, for anyone who’s interested), disagrees.

“If you’re providing a better experience for me, or helping me get a better product at a better price or get better information, consumers are generally pretty fine with that. I don’t see this as big brother at all.” – Doug Chavez (2014)

While Mr Chavez isn’t technically wrong, I do love seeing things I’m interested in for a good price, it would be nice every now and then to not be swamped on Facebook and Instagram with advertisements…. also I’m not sure how much more of this impulse buying my bank account can take.



Brettel, M. Reich, J. Gavilanes, JM. Flatten, TC. 2015, ‘What Drives Advertising Success on Facebook? An Advertising-Effectiveness Model’, Journal of Advertising Research, vol. 55, no. 2, pp. 162

Edwards J, 2013, “Here’s a diagram of how Facebook’s FBX ad exchange works”, Business Insider, 04/01/2013, retrieved on 18/08/2016, <http://www.businessinsider.com.au/how-facebooks-fbx-ad-exchange-works-2013-1?r=US&IR=T>

Johnson J P, 2013, “Targeted advertising and advertising avoidance”, RAND Journal of Econimics, Volume 44, Issue 1, p128 – 144, < http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.ezproxy-f.deakin.edu.au/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=a5d9f17d-32af-4661-8865-776144a5106f@sessionmgr4006&vid=2&hid=4213>

Wagner K, 2014, “Your Google searches may help decide your Facebook ads”, Mashable Australia, 05/06/2014, retrieved on 18/08/2016, <http://mashable.com/2014/06/04/google-facebook-ads-search/#DCK73fyheZqO?>




Every Move You Make


Pokemon Go is just a Government surveillance scheme!!!


“Pokemon GO” by Eduardo Woo, available at https://flic.kr/p/HXJkVc under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0, full terms at < https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/>


Ok so probably not. But then again…

In the recent weeks, the world has once again become obsessed with Pokemon, this time in an app for your smart phone which allows you to catch Pokemon in real time, in your own augmented-reality. Pretty cool huh? But to do that you have to agree to allowing access to your location, contacts, phone storage, and other somewhat seedy things. The creator of the game – Niantec – admitted that by downloading the game they did have access to players location, phone storage, Google account information (if you’ve joined that way), camera and contacts. However they at no point had intended to spy on peoples Google accounts, and that the problem was in the process of being fixed to limit the amount of accessible information to the bare minimum.

Naturally people don’t want their information shared around and for Google to know their location at all times, but fact of the matter is, as soon as you switch your location on your phone on, that’s exactly what’s happening. On an i-Phone, the phones location history is kept so that you can see where you’ve been, and also how long you’ve spent in each location, so this isn’t exactly a new thing to be happening.

If you ask me, people need to just calm down about the whole Pokemon Go phenomenon. Quit freaking out about being watched all the time, and just accept that yeah, if you want to play a game in a cool virtual augmented reality, you’re going to have to be watched a little with your phones location. You win some you lose some.



“Pokemon GO” by Eduardo Woo, available at https://flic.kr/p/HXJkVc under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0, full terms at < https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/>

Johnson L, 2016, “17 secret i-phone tips and hacks that you didn’t know about”, Digital Spy, 06/07/2016, retrieved on 14/08/2016, http://www.digitalspy.com/tech/smartphones/feature/a782933/17-secret-iphone-tips-and-hacks-that-you-didnt-know-about/

Kulwin N, Bergen M, 2016, “Pokemon Go creators say they didn’t mean to spy on Google accounts”, RECODE, 11/07/16, retrieved on 14/08/2016, http://www.recode.net/2016/7/11/12154354/pokemon-go-niantic-google-permissions