Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

May 2, 2014

V. DAVIS: Good luck getting by 'buy me'

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Last week I was scrolling through my Twitter feed when I saw a bro from my college days posted a picture of a free notebook he’d gotten at a conference. It wasn’t just any notebook, it was an “Action Journal” by the New York City startup Bhance.

An Action Journal is a notebook that uses a modified version of the Cornell Method of note taking, which, technically, you can use in any notebook. What makes this one different is it comes with orange or blue accents. And I love it. I had one a few years ago that I cherished all the way up until it fell out of my unzipped bag and into a puddle.

Long story short, I closed my Twitter app, opened up a new window and purchased one with rush shipping (I didn’t want to miss out on any opportunities to take awesome notes).

As I confirmed my order and put my phone back in my pocket, a wave of realization washed over me: Internet advertisers have finally won.

Like most of you, I hate advertisements and go through great pains to avoid them. I refuse to watch anything on cable unless it’s DVR’d. When an ad pops up on youtube I watch the “you can skip this ad in 5 seconds” countdown clock with an intensity equal to that of a member of a bomb squad out on a mission. Like most people, I get irrationally angry when I’m reading a blog and one of those video pop-ups that plays sound appears at the bottom of the page. I scroll furiously looking for the mute button. How dare they try to sell me Mucinex, when I’m trying to watch a video of Vin Diesel breakdancing in the 80s!

Between my Netflix and Amazon Prime accounts, I’ve almost fully removed commercials from my life. I am the new millennium — and I’ve realized something. When no one is advertising at us, we will advertise to ourselves. Marketing is an unbeatable industry, we may as well just embrace it.

Twitter, like most tech giants, is a company that doesn’t “produce” anything. Millions of people send useless messages into the ether all day, every day. Yet, through all of the noise and gossip, and screen caps from classic Saved by the Bell episodes with funny captions, I still find a way to pick out something to buy.

Google and Facebook are constantly watching, so the ads you see are more and more relevant. When I’m home all of the ads I see are for tech products I researched at work. When I’m at work the ads are all for skateboard gear and high-tops that I researched at home. Google puts more effort into knowing about me and my interests than some girls I’ve dated.

Things could be way worse. You could live in Karachi, which is a level in a Call of Duty game as well as a real place where people live. You could wake up in Haiti, where there are no Starbucks. I know things are rough all over. It’s tornado season. A mudslide/sinkhole/flash blizzard could engulf your house at any moment, but it doesn’t happen so often that it would be featured in a blockbuster video game.

If your house burned down today and the biggest problem you dealt with in the months before that was endless popup ads, your life’s going pretty well in the long run. Think about it.

Vincent Davis II is a Cornell graduate, DJ and market development specialist in the IT industry. Contact him at vincedavis06@gmail.com.