Thursday, June 19, 2014

I am SUCH a Sucker for Good Marketing...

I recently turned in my official Luddite membership card and purchased a smart phone.  (Although I am still on a pay-as-you-go, prepaid plan.)  This new adventure with technology may periodically spawn posts such as this one:


The secret of being a top-notch con man is 
being able to know what the mark wants,
and how to make him think he's getting it.  
~ Ken Kesey

I've had an "e-pass" in my car for about 17 years - ever since my route to work included toll roads.  If you aren't familiar with these, they allow me to be identified automatically as I drive through a toll station without stopping, and my account is automatically charged the amount of the toll.  

Sounds awesome, right?  Well, I use it - because I go through 10 toll stations a day and the commute would be intolerable without it - but I have always hated the idea that I am driving around broadcasting my location to...  

And I've been very resistant to GPS and OnStar (and etc.) for the same reason.  I find it unsettling to think about total strangers being able to find out where I am at any given moment, without my knowledge or my permission...  

Even knowing that I could benefit from having those systems in my car isn't enough to overcome my distaste of this "cost."  

Of course, put a different spin on it...  

Hey there, want to join a community of commuters - all helping each other identify and avoid traffic problems?  

And all of a sudden I'm all - Sign me up!  I'm in! 

I know - totally illogical...  In both cases, I am letting others - hundreds, if not thousands, of total strangers - have access to information about me.  

But, apparently, someone knows what I want and how to make me think I'm getting it...  

Because "joining a community" where everyone helps each other sounds so much more appealing than "being spied on by the man" - doesn't it?    

Plus, in Waze, I get to pick my own nickname and icon - I'm a ninja!  


  1. I tend to be of the opinion that I cannot escape spying so I might as well have some benefit from it ;-) However, there was a minor storm on the internet a few months back when someone expressed this opinion w.r.t. targeting online ads. The consensus of the social justice blogs that I read was that this is a kind of opinion that typically comes from a straight white middle-class privilege. Which I freely admit I have ;-)

    1. Hi MD,
      Good point - I do accept a lack of privacy more easily when I get some kind of benefit. I'll have to think about targeted ads a bit - the first few I saw caught me by surprise, but then I got used to them and went back to ignoring them as usual! ;)
      All the best, Gwen