In a time where any foray onto Facebook can easily become a trip down the rage management rabbit hole (because, let’s face facts, Facebook is rather awful these days), I have found a solid and consistent source of pure joy: hiding ads.
I can’t possibly describe to you the rich, luxurious feeling of denying advertisers my eyeballs. The bliss that comes from reclaiming ground previously held at the mercy of those who desire my sweet, hard-earned bucks is without social media parallel. Now, this probably speaks to my steady devolution toward being a cranky old lady hermit, shrieking things like “WE DON’T WANT ANY” and “HOW DID YOU GET THIS NUMBER” and “STAY OFF MY LAWN, YOU PUDDING-HEADED RAKEHELL“. It’s a slippery slope, to be sure… but, in my defense, there’s something to be said for the cathartic rush that comes from scrolling through my feed and obliterating ads one by one, then refreshing the page and going through the process again… and again… and again.
Friend’s picture of precious baby: ❤️ 👶🏾
Politcal post: 😭 😭 🤧
Facebook ad for handcrafted mattresses stuffed with the graciously donated hair of highly educated, farm raised, and organically fed grey llamas: 😈 🔨🔪💣
Why am I seeing this?
I dearly love this question, which is probably why I always read it in a British accent, with the most lushly peevish of tones. This question demands that Facebook explain why they chose to show you rubbish that only tangentially relates to your life in that you are (probably) human and may have at one point used a calendar or eaten something loosely categorized as food. I click on this question so often that, most of the time, Facebook doesn’t even bothering generating the pop-up answers anymore.
We’re showing you this ad because you like “Door”.
We’re showing you this ad because you clicked on an ad that was related to “cheese”.
We’re showing you this ad because the seller wanted to connect to women in your area between the ages of 25-34 who are over average height, are cranky, and have husbands who are allergic to cats.
We all know that the only reason why I’m seeing this ad for pretty, slim women in wretchedly ugly footwear is cash money on the barrelhead.
IT HAS LITERALLY NOTHING TO DO WITH MY PREFERENCE FOR CHEESE.
MY MOTHER DID NOT RAISE STUPID CHILDREN.
HOW DARE YOU LIE TO ME LIKE THIS. YOUR PREVARICATION IS NOT TO BE BORNE.
You are… denied. Whatever you are selling, I do not want it. Take your wares and depart, ye peddler of junk.This ad is not useful, and I shall waste no more time on it.
THIS is what POWER feels like.
It’s not relevant to me.
This final step in the clearing of my feed is rather arbitrary, considering that the Powers That Be do not care much about the spirit of the law. If I don’t wish to see ads about eyebrow shaping, then the following day, sure as the dawn, I will see ads about the newest innovations in nose hair trimming instead, as if THAT is somehow closer to my interests.
But the knowledge that I am only shoveling sand against the tide has no negative effect on my enjoyment. Let’s choose to claim the small victories.
My go to answer for the ads I dismiss is “It’s not relevant to me”, even for things that technically could be considered relevant (if you didn’t know me at all and simply made assumptions based off of broad demographics).
Ads related to bodily functions? Not relevant (and how dare you attempt to discuss such things with me in public).
Ads related to group exercise classes for WOMEN WHO 💖 FITNESS AND WANT TO MAKE NEW BFFS XOXOHUGZ? Not relevant (and I find your intensity frightening).
Ads related to fun nail polish techniques? Not relevant (Solid colors only and stop trying to make me have fun, Marianne).
But really, the main reason why I do this is because I don’t want to see ads.
I don’t want to see any ads.
I don’t want to be sold things.
I want to be left alone, with my rapidly diminishing wardrobe and my old shoes and my non-organic foodstuffs. I don’t know why you think I’m concerned about grey hair and wrinkles (I’m not… LET ME AGE IN PEACE, WOULD YOU?!), or finding a good looking single man who likes to party (L’horreur!). I’m not the least bit interested in Sears or skydiving or why someone that I don’t know thinks I should stop eating gluten, and I’m not sure why you would assume that I am. I don’t care about your latest Kickstarter campaign, I’m afraid.
For me, being an intense and committed introvert, being buffeted with ads is no different from being harangued in a department store by a helpful associate (who is only doing their job and I applaud them… I also avoid them, but that’s not their fault). I do not want to be chased and harassed and finally worn down and convinced to buy. I want to recognize a legitimate need or want in my life, conduct a thorough and exhaustive search, and discover a product that I’m then going to excitedly share with my friends.*
I realize that I’m asking businesses to return to a previous era in marketing, and I realize that there’s very little reason for them to do so. So, as it is, I will continue ruthlessly shutting down all attempts to connect with me, because DANG IT, I have to squeeze some enjoyment out of Facebook.
*THIS IS TECHNICALLY HOW I MET MY HUSBAND.