Keep calm and data mine

“Keep calm, I'm a Shackelford”.


“I can't keep calm, I'm a Shackelford!”

You may have seen these slogans around your Facebook feed, albeit without my last name and instead featuring your own. Usually the slogan is plastered on a T-shirt with some goofy looking male model wearing it.



It's kind of scary, right? I mean, we all know that Facebook is constantly mining our data. Every like, every page click, every letter typed is being monitored as a potential source of data to be sold to advertisers. But our complete lack of privacy has never been thrown in our faces quite like this.

I'm not going to rant about whether Facebook is selling our information to advertising agencies. Let's be honest: It is, whether it tells you or not. In a very short period of time the human race has grown used to the idea that everything we put online is monitored, collected and used to sell things to us. We seem to be okay with it, and just live by the common-sense philosophy of “If you don't want people to know it, don't put it on the Internet.”

Making it painfully obvious that you have purchased my information and are trying to sell me crappy T-shirts by plastering my name on them in combination with an overused slogan? Bad form, sirs.

I would never buy one of those shirts, on principal alone. It's simply far too creepy to see my name on some random ad for a company in which I sincerely have no interest.

Targeted advertising can be a good thing. It prevents me from having to see ads for Loestrin and Playtex while I'm mindlessly surfing my Facebook feed. But there's a point at which advertising can become too targeted, and Facebook seems to have found it.

The “Keep Calm” T-shirt campaign seems to be over. I haven't seen it in my feed recently, though that could be due to the rant I posted to my friends last week concerning how creepy and inappropriate it is. A rant which is, of course, now resting quietly in a Facebook advertising demographic file somewhere. I can only hope Facebook realizes that this level of targeted advertising is a bit too much, and sticks with linking me geeky web pages instead.

Reach the columnist at or follow him on Twitter @sirshackofford

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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