Post Your Entry!
SATURDAY, MAY 28, 2016
 
One real test of friendship is the kind of gift a friend gets you. Because the anti-materialists have already raised their flags, I'll explain: Good gifts don't need to be expensive, or lavish - sometimes they don't even need to cost a thing. A good gift is grounded in the thoughts the gifter had upon giving the gift. A gift is a measure of friendship, because a gift is a measure of how well the gifter knows the giftee.

As it goes, I've received your typical standard distribution of gifts in my time - with the normal few falling on either side of that Gaussian curve. The ones that fall anywhere beyond the mean have always been a little more touching, while the ones below the curve have been more than just a little disappointing. Sure that more materialistic-self is immediately disappointed, but it's the emotional side that goes "Wait... this is what they think of me? Seriously?" And it's when, on a single occasion, you get a series of gifts falling below the curve, that you find yourself re-evaluating your friendships - especially if you've gone so far as to adjust the mean, so as to scale up the curve.

Even if it's not a gift but a recommendation, if you're anything like me then you really have a difficult time coming up with a reason to uphold the friendship when that recommendation was so far off base. You love classic literature and your friend recommends that you read Dan Brown's Angels&Demons.; You read the first couple of pages and you're nothing short of insulted. This is not even a case of not being well known - this is a case of having your intelligence questioned...

As a result it's a little disconcerting (but simultaneously a proud testament of our ever improving technology) when Amazon.com seems to know me better than my friends. I found myself looking over the recommended items once more - a number of months since I wrote about Smart Ads having me all wrong and to my pleasant surprise Amazon had some nice items to recommend me. Of course, there was a disappointment that I was no longer being recommended Lawn Gnomes, as those delightful fellows had sure grown on me. Otherwise though, as I looked over all the items I was being recommended, I found myself thinking "I wouldn't buy these for myself... but what great gifts they would make to give me!"

So when Amazon can recommend something to me, or otherwise suggest a potential "gift" that would be better than what a friend can do... well, what does that really say about us as a society?

Does a website that logs into an ever-growing database every single one of my searches, tracks each item I click on, the way I navigate the website, how often I return, etc. really know more than my friends whom I've joked around with, and whose questions about what I wanted for my birthday I would simply shrug off with a "You don't need to get me anything..." ?

Well ... yea, ok I guess it makes a little sense. Particularly when you consider how many of my friends are likely to tune out when I start rambling on about Rock'em Sock'em Robots... Amazon though, Amazon never forgets.

Which leads me to my rather abrupt conclusion:

True friends hire a private detective to spy on you for months in advance of the next gifting occasion ... or hack your Amazon account to see what you've recently been recommended.
Comments

Alamir

Alamir

I know that you love talking about being tracked by bots, but this article feels almost like a witty advertisement at certain points. And I know you 're not making any cash off promoting Amazon...but stylistically it still looks like an ad. Especially with the photo.

So, no Arc for you.



USERNAME:
PASSWORD:
REMEMBER ME
Forget your password?
Don't have an account? Sign Up, it's free!
Most Discussed Articles Top Articles Top Writers