Thursday, February 7, 2019

Siri, Alexa, and Cortana Are On To Me!

I have separate male and female online accounts for things like Google and various social media.  Ten years ago, this arrangement worked well.  Kelli could shop online for clothes, do a little blogging, and read e-mail addressed specifically to her, then log off and let my male side do the same.  No unauthorized persons or entities knew that Kelli had a male side and vice versa.  Everybody was happy and peace reigned in the enchanted kingdom.

Then, social media started getting nosey.  Since more and more of our lives was being recorded online, it was easier for social media to begin forming databases of who we were and what we were doing.  Social media began suggesting that we contact "these folks" who shared common interests, or did we know about these distant relatives that we had never met, or did you know that you live five minutes away from a White Castle?  At this moment in time, social media probably knows as much about Kelli as it does my male side.

Since I am one and the same person, there is online overlap between my male and female sides.  An example of this would be online friends both Kelli and my male side follow and communicate with.  Both sides also have people that communicate exclusively with either the male or female side.  This includes businesses as well.

So a year or so ago I was shocked when my male side received a friend suggestion from Google + that I should be friends with Kelli.  I later laughed and joked that it was because we lived in the same neighborhood.  Still, what I didn't realize was that it was a case of social media (even Google +) getting smarter and more curious about each of us.

Now most all of us with a smart phone are also living with a Siri, Alexa, or Cortana, and these gals are now freaking me out.  I will verbally mention that I am interested in something while talking to a friend, and the next time I go online I'll see advertisements for that very item.  Has my smart phone been listening to me?

The latest incident spooked me pretty good, although most folks wouldn't give it a second thought.  (I do get a little paranoid every now and then.)  Last Christmas I bought my first Barbie doll.  I had always lamented the fact that as a boy I wasn't allowed to play with them, and now that I am an adult I can do so without getting into trouble.  And this Barbie is perfect for me.  She is a musician Barbie, came with her own guitar and electric piano, and is dressed in a style that would suit me perfectly -- grey knit short-sleeved top and blue white print skirt to just above the knees with tennis shoes.  I fell in love with her and currently have her on my desk watching my computer screen.

A couple times since I have anonymously been on big store websites and glanced through a few Barbie accessories just to see if something caught my eye, but that was my only activity online.  I mentioned Barbie a few times at home in the company of my smart phone, but didn't think anything about it.  Then last night, I logged into YouTube as Kelli.  Suggested videos popped onto the screen that included lots of Barbie videos.  Why did this happen?  I never knew there were Barbie videos!  I'm not really interested in Barbie videos!  How did YouTube generate this suggestion?

Just wait.  Before long, I'll be online as Kelli and Alexa will remind me I need more shaving creme, or my male side will be on social media which will remind me that Kelli's birthday is next week and I should buy her some lingerie.  I hate to stereotype, but these gals just can't keep a secret!


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