At first I didn’t even notice the slippers my Facebook feed kept throwing at me. Over a casual Friday night dinner, a friend mentioned she keeps getting these self-proclaimed “cool” slippers as sponsored ads in her Facebook feed too.
What else was she getting?
Anthony Robbins ads. Tick. So was I. And a supermarket shopping ad. Tick. Tick. She also had wrinkle treatments. I was getting an appliance review website instead. I think I would have preferred the wrinkle treatments.
‘How weird’, we thought so utterly naively over some wine and corn chips. ‘We are getting mostly the same ads.’
The following Monday a colleague at work around my age started talking about the slippers popping up on her feed.
"I get them too!" I said, rather too excitedly for an off-hand comment about slippers. "So does my friend. They're everywhere."
"Do you get them?" I asked a millennial colleague. She looked at me blankly. I ended up showing her the slippers as though that might jog her memory.
"I've never seen those slippers in my life."
She wasn't a witness in a murder trial, she just wasn't over 40 yet.
Facebook has me and every other woman I know over 40 in a little box. And that box has scrawled on the top FOR OVER 40s. THEY WEAR SLIPPERS.
Then there are other things Facebook knows about me. It knows I have reached some existential - or let's just call it for what it is, Am I wasting my life stage? How did I get here? Surely I was meant to be special by now - stage. Enter international life coach American mega man, Anthony Robbins. I swear I have been invited to every talk in the world that he is speaking at. I can get you a good deal if you want to go.
Coles also keeps me informed on mince meat specials and when toothpaste is 30 per cent off.
Does Facebook really know who I am? I like to think not, but I'm also starting to think I might go and see Anthony Robbins and maybe I should try online grocery shopping.
Listen: Mamamia Out Loud discusses the issue of mildly offensive Facebook ads. (Post continues after audio.)