ZELLA COMPTON: Amazon knows me better than Facebook

Zella will continue on Facebook
Zella will continue on Facebook
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The revelations about Facebook and its data breaches has kept us all on our toes – what does the company know about us, how can that information be used, exactly what personal secrets have been appropriated for business and political gain?

There is no secret that Facebook thinks it knows everything. For example, it bothers me that I can be shopping for something via Google only to have ads for that very thing spring up on my Facebook page, minutes later.

But in the past few years I have had a lot of fun with that, searching for mountain resorts, or tropical fish, so at least I have pretty pics in the advertising feed. I like to think, in my small way, that I am gaming my profile.

So what does Facebook really know about me? It knows I like other peoples’ content – but it doesn’t know the difference between what I really like, and what I feel I should like. It also, probably, knows I don’t like cats.

The truth of who I am though, is revealed in the content which I save. Reams and reams of articles about writing novels, plays and scripts. Or maybe, the truth of who I want to be is in the content that I save, and the real truth of who I am is in the content which I actually go back to and read?

Either way, I think Amazon probably has a much better steer on who I really am. Because it’s there that I invest my money, not just a liking click, or a minute of my time. It’s on Amazon that I read user content with a view to it changing my mind about a product – for example a book (about writing) – and it’s there that tracks my real time listening to music and what choices I consciously make.

Surely that’s worth more than the echo chamber of content I like on Facebook, the same-old stuff that is being repeated, and I’m repeating?

I’ve read so many complaints from people about data breaches, but I wonder if these are the same people who take part in the quizzes which tell you what type of tree you are after telling you the cost is access to your data? Most of these quiz apps do just that, and we’re busy selling our souls for a smidgeon of computer psyche analysis.

Whatever the truth is, I’m not coming off Facebook permanently. It’s too much a part of my life, my personal addiction to an ethereal social status.

And the more scary thought? If we didn’t have Facebook, what would we do to keep up with people we hardly know? Move to snapchat? I don’t think so.

I’M IN AWE OF AMERICAN YOUNGSTERS

The young people of America have again showed their mettle, again protesting across the country and speaking out against the NRA – the pro-gun association which funds many politicians in the USA and has effectively shut down the gun debate by, it’s claimed, buying politicians’ silence.

I am in awe of the teenagers who are daring to stand up and be counted, who are daring to speak out, who are daring one another to go to the polls and vote for politicians who aren’t financed by the NRA, those who can take a stand against weaponry.

Even the Pope’s got involved, calling for the youth of the world not to be silenced, to cry out. What a passionate campaign for their future.

IT WAS GREAT FUN BUT I SHUDDER AT KEANU’S EARLY WORK

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure was so much fun when I was younger. That is, many years ago before I realised what good acting is.

It’s amazing that Keanu Reeves could go from that appalling. ham-fest to – oh hang on – every other film he’s been in.

I think his success comes from the fact that people really enjoy the projects he’s involved with, which makes his acting forgivable. Especially his more recent reinvention as John Wick which was utterly compelling.

If he had really managed to travel forward in time from Bill and Ted, I doubt he could have imagined a career which would have sustained itself so well based on his teenage performance.

Seemingly he’s also a pretty great person. How excellent.