Just For You

Posted by Rebecca Boneschans

Self-parking cars, automatic phone updates, meet-and-mingle dating sites that find Mr. or Mrs. Right for you. It is all about convenience these days. Anything that makes the day run smoother is what people want.

The world of journalism is no exception. Basing its core value on what the reader wants or needs, media around the world has been bending over backwards trying to give the people what they desire.

The Washington Post has taken this service a step further to accommodate the on-the-go reader with a personalized Post newsfeed, created by the user on their website (www.washingtonpost.com). It’s not just stories from the Post, but stories from around the web, giving the reader a deep well of news from which they can gather buckets of information.

The Washington Post makes it personal.

A screen shot of The Washington Post's site shows the convenient option of personalizing the news site with the click of a button or the tap of a finger.

Playing with personalized information isn’t secluded to the world of journalism. It extends into the advertising realm as well. Just recently, Plan UK launched the first-ever interactive billboard at an Oxford bus stop.

For the “Because I am a Girl” campaign, this advertisement uses a facial recognition camera that differentiates between genders. If a woman is detected, a 40-second video of profiled teens will play. If a male is detected, he is restricted from seeing the ad and directed the campaign’s web site. This tactic was designed to exemplify the fact that women around the world are restricted from participating in decisions regarding their lives, such as the choice of education or marriage.

In 2002, this type of advertisement was used in the movie “The Minority Report,” which took place in the year 2054. With the use of scanning mechanisms, simply walking into a shopping center would generate advertisements geared toward your personal preferences. 

Ten years after the creation of that movie, fantasy has become reality. By the end of the year, personalized billboards and scanners at bars and retail outlets will be streaming their way into a few Orlando, Fla. establishments. This allows for employees to personalize selling points and establish the age of consumer, for previous purchases as well as legal purposes.

The goal is to create revenue, but the stark reality is that personal information from social sites may weave their way into the mix. Even though statements have been made regarding the discard of such information, the looming question remains: Will the convenience of personalized ads and news sites, loaded with all of your information, create a playground for identity thieves?

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2 responses to “Just For You

  1. That “Because I am a Girl” campaign is crazy! However, I can’t help but think that these new tactics must be highly prone to error. I mean, it sometimes has to mess up boys and girls if it’s just using facial recognition.

  2. There was mention of scanning facial features incorrectly. A few people were scanned twice, and on the second try were recognized correctly. It creeps me out when people know things about me just because of my Facebook profile, just thinking about what they’ll know by scanning my face only adds to that.

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