Friday, March 8, 2013

the internet is creepy

Sometimes it's creepy how stalker-ish the internet is. And I'm not talking about people using the internet. I'm talking about like...programs. Or robots. Or something. Today's example:

The other morning, Mollyanne was in my office and we were talking about a recipe I was giving her. The recipe calls for Heath Bit o' Brickle toffee pieces, and I was trying to explain what they looked like. Obviously pictures are worth thousands of words, so I did a quick Google Image search and showed her what to look for. Great. Done and done.

So explain to me why this morning, the ads on the side of my Facebook are all for Heath Bit o' Brickle baking pieces? Those ads have never been there before. But now they are. And dang they look tasty. Obviously the Google robots chat with the Facebook robots and that there is straight up creepy.

Incidentally, the Heath baking ads are by Now I love me some We've discussed that before. But who does their grocery shopping there? That would just be dumb. But maybe the Computer Robots are just smart enough to figure out ALL of my favorite things. "She likes Heath bits? She likes SHE WILL LOVE BUYING HEATH BITS AT DRUGSTORE.COM!!!" Apparently the robots lack common sense, cause don't NO ONE wanna buy baking bits at Sorry, robots.

Anyway. One last thing. This is a question of computer/email etiquette. Say you send me a (work-related) email like this:

Hey Erika, I wanted to RSVP for _____ and had a few questions.... and then you asked your questions.

I respond to you: 

Hey Person (except I would use your name, of course), blah blah blah (and I answer your questions). Thanks for touching base, let me know if I can help you with anything else!

And then you respond back:

Perfect, thanks so much! I appreciate your help! or something along those lines.

Here's the question: Should I respond again with a 'you're welcome' or 'no problem' or something? Or is that just annoying? Personally, I would not necessarily want/expect a final one-or-two word response. But would you? Is it polite or annoying? Help a sister out!


  1. I was thinking the EXACT same thing over the last few days. My niece turns 1 on Saturday, so I bought her some shoes from Amazon. Being the good internet shopper that I am, I googled the shoes to make sure I was getting the best price. Now those DARN shoes and everything associated with Stride Rite is ALL OVER the place, Facebook, news articles, gmail. I've seen those shoes a hundred times in the last 3 days. Ridiculous. Teach me to buy baby stuff on my own computer! : )

  2. My internet robots have been doing the exact same thing! It's never happened before but in the past two weeks, the ads I see are now for sites/products I've recently visited. What the heck?

    Also, I would say that no additional response is needed on the email chain.

  3. I would just like to say that my friend is one of those internet robots and I am going to send him this post to let him know he is doing his job! Or his employees are doing their jobs!

    And I would not respond further on the e-mail chain because then I would feel like I would have to respond to your response and it just never ends.

  4. I have NO idea how to answer that last question. I think it would be annoying myself (if it's work related in particular), but we had this issue with a client. My assistant did NOT replay with a "You're welcome!" and the guy wrote to me saying he thought it was rude because he is "the client after all".

    Personally, I think that guy is a big, oversensitive, douche. But sometimes at work we have to assume everyone is that touchy and kiss their ass.

    You're welcome for providing no answers, only more confusion :)

  5. haha-My job is marketing--and there is this program/ad thing you can buy that when someone visits your site, it then tracks you and follows these "sticky ads" to other sites you go to. The first time it happened to me I was all WHAT THE EFF. But now I know better ;)

    And I think you could either say nothing in response, or "no problem", whatever--something simple.

  6. The Internet does have a stalkerish quality!

    I also feel weird about the final response to's like, who gets in the last word! ;-)

  7. I always write back with a quick "no problem" because even though it may not be necessary, it's polite and unlikely to offend the person :)

  8. Yeah that is creepy. It actually has happened to me before too! Weird! Last quesion, I don't think it is necessary to respond again. I choose not to. I know people who would respond again and I am ok on the receiving end. I don't get annoyed or anything. Good luck!

  9. I wouldn't respond and often find it annoying when people habitually do that. Same goes for texts. Say what you need to say and be done...let's not fight for the last word.

  10. I noticed the robots a few weeks/months ago.. now I don't remember. I looked at rugs somewhere and then the ads on were on YHL. I don't know where the half-naked women ads come from!

    As far as the email etiquette, are smiley faces acceptable? Sometimes I feel like ending with those.

  11. Apparently I'm obsessed with my nephew because I get ads on gmail for a law firm called Davis & Davis LLC all the time. And you better believe I got all kinds of car ads when we were car shopping in the fall!

    Ok so in the beginning of my time in Corporate America, I always responded with a "You're welcome" or something to that effect, but at some point a boss pointed out to me that I didn't have to respond to every single e-mail because a lot of times the response is assumed, so now I think twice. I think it depends on your audience and on how many e-mails that person likely has to deal with. For example, when I e-mail with our VP, I use the "less is more" approach. But if I'm e-mailing a co-worker/friend that I talk to a lot, then I'll probably throw in an "any time!" or something like that. Ok sorry, long explanation.

  12. I agree with Amanda on the email etiquette. Depends on your audience.

    Have a great weekend!

  13. My favorite show Parks and Rec had an episode about that where Ron Swanson (main character with mustache) is creeped out by the personalized ads online:

  14. I tots agree that the internet is oober creepy! After researching infertility procedures and medications, along with shoes, jewelry, restaurants, etc. I never know what's going to pop on my sidebar. I don't like it. It makes me feel like a femara-addled foodie :) And I'm of the less is more approach with emails. Unless they ask a question, you don't really need to respond further. There's this lady who always sends me a thank you for my thank you cards. It's sweet, but mostly tacky. And now I don't send her thank you cards anymore. It's too stressful!

  15. Eww. Boo on the creeps, inter-webs.

    I've definitely thought about the work email thing--I try to have my response close it up and have a final closing line in there like you have, and just consider anything sent in response to my response a bonus.

  16. The internet IS creepy! Agreed!

    Usually, i would just write back & say "not a problem!" or "you're welcome, have a great weekend!" or something like that. Just so they know i got it. And then it usually ends there. :)

  17. Those ads creep me out too. I really have no answer for your email dilemma. I always forget to respond to emails at my job and people end up calling my classroom for the answer.


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