Big Brother is watching you!

Prior to my media studies, I honestly gave little thought into how much my media consumption would mean to others. Of course, I could tell my friends and family my favourite TV shows or discuss something interesting that was on the telly last night, but otherwise why would anyone else care about what media I consume? Nevertheless, what I’m doing while I watch, listen, chat or shop online.

The truth is, there are people out there investing a lot of time and money into discovering exactly what we’re doing in front of our TVs, in the car listening to the radio, on our mobile devices and on-line.

It is this research that marketers and public relations practitioners rely on to get their message to the right audience. In today’s world, the media is, more than ever, used as a commercial vehicle tailored to our own preferences and what they think we’d like to buy.

The company AC Nielsen is one invested in finding out what we’re tuning into daily. Conducting consumer research in over 100 countries, measuring people like us, the audience. These statistics are sold to companies all over the world to help them understand what we as consumers want (AC Neilsen, 2014).

Here’s what they’s discovered so far about us consumers of the world…

Essentially you and I are very valuable people in the eyes of marketers and thanks to the internet, they already know who we are.  With all this information about us being collected are you concerned about your privacy being invaded? Or, do you think it is just the age we’re in? No information, especially what we do on-line is classified.

Certainly, Holtzman (2006) believes this collection of data about our media consumption is an invasion of privacy. That is not to say that marketers cannot collect information on their audience to understand how to promote their products, but when information about us is collected without our knowledge or full disclosure is where the argument lies. Holtzman’s stance lies against psychographics, information relating to one’s personality, beliefs, lifestyle and interests and how computer systems and platforms are collecting this information on us daily (Holtzman, 2006, p 51).

Media platforms such as Facebook and Google are collecting our psycho-graphic information and categorizing us into consumer groups to make it easier for products to be targeted at us. Today I decided to investigate on my own Facebook page, why was I seeing particular ads on my side bar. I noticed one for PopCherry Fashion, which was not surprising as I’ve recently checked out their on-line store. Similarly, the same ad popped up on the sidebar of YouTube today and I’ve noticed it here a couple of times on my blog. What’s more, the particular items of clothing I bought and was looking at on-line, were featured in the ads that were targeted at me. So without me even knowing, someone or something somewhere followed my activity on this on-line store,  recorded the items I was interested in and allowed similar items to be advertised to me on completely different websites.

It’s incredible just how much info there is about us out there. Facebook puts this marketing technique into simple terms:



Reading this, I understood why the ads are tailored to us, but what needs to be asked is how are we categorized into these particular audience types? Basically when we’re logged on or tuned in, someone is always watching

Audience research is the simple answer to this question, and with the internet there are more ways than ever to collect data. Data that was never availible to be collected before.

Until next week,



Holtzman, D 2006. ‘Collateral damage: the harm to society’, ch. 2 in Privacy Lost, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, pp. 41 – 56.


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