[Continuing yesterday’s response to a prompt from The Daily Post]
Driven by roughly equivalent amounts of curiosity and annoyance, Midge blocked out thirty minutes on her calendar for a mythical meeting, then found an unused conference room. Keeping the room lights turned off for a reason she couldn’t articulate, the recent college graduate used her phone at first to verify that one of her social media profiles now showed an interest in fishing (it did), and then to investigate how that profile had come to exhibit such an odd mutation.
The glow of her tiny screen illuminated her face as she found her answer in chat rooms and technical forums. The social media site provided an option to track the online history of their users (Midge checked her profile’s settings, and confirmed the option had been turned on for her). As she discovered just how thorough the site was tracking her history, Midge grew increasingly concerned — every article she had read, every purchase she had made, every blog entry she had posted, even every time she had clicked the Like button on updates her friends had made on social media sites — any online activity she had conducted since creating her account on this one social media (and choosing not to investigate the options available in her profile settings) had been collected into a sophisticated algorithm that produced a concise list of her interests, which was then made to other users of the site.
Midge didn’t need to search back through her recent online activity to determine why that algorithm detected an interest in fishing. Two friends of hers, a male from high school and a female from college, had recently gone on separate camping trips in Wisconsin. Both were avid fishers, and had posted several pictures of their bounties. Acting entirely out of fondness, Midge had liked their pictures and status updates.
The light in the conference room clicked on; Midge hadn’t heard JT from IT enter the room. She excused herself, hurried out of the room, satisfied not only that she had found the answer to her question, but also by having finally edited her profile settings to avoid any future accidental updates to her profile.
As she walked back to her desk, her phone vibrated. Without breaking her stride, she pulled her phone from her belt holster and glanced at the screen — Tosh had sent her a text.