I let Facebook ads influence my career

Around three years ago, I took a communication course on how the internet age has influenced our interpersonal lives. One aspect of the course was on how social media contributes towards consumer patterns. I mentioned to the class that the way ads on Facebook worked was pretty bad. If I looked at any e-commerce site’s product, it kept showing up on FB. Occasionally, it was something I’d already bought, or it was something I viewed but didn’t really want after I looked into it further. It was like I left the mall but all the stores followed me home.

I know my peers prefer other social media nowadays, but I still really like how Facebook keeps stuff organized. You’re “friends” with your classmates, but you “like” your favorite pop star. Elsewhere, you’re a “follower” no matter your breed of exposure to someone else, and gets a little confusing. I also like how so many other sites (Grubhub, Yelp, New York Times, Happn, and Coffee Meets Bagel come to mind) will forgo my need to create an account with them provided I already have Facebook. Not to mention, I picked to maintain the Facebook page of the nonprofit where I intern.

Sure, I still see consumer goods in my Facebook ads occasionally, but it’s more than that: it’s gotten better. I aspire for publication, a career, and attending grad school. My ads reflect this. So I’ve actually clicked on a few ads, or taken screenshots of them, and occasionally just took a note down.

This is going to be an episodic series where I analyze some of the stuff I see in my FB ads. Yes, this is definitely inspired by YouTube vlogger Safiya Nygaard’s “The Internet Made Me Do It” series. But of course, Safiya is buying physical stuff (and, on one occasion, audible stuff considering herĀ new intro song… ) but I’m not. I’m giving businesses (universities and/or nonprofits included) some info about me, and I’ll get some info on them. Therefore, I don’t think it translates quite as well on video. Starting with…

Johns Hopkins Advanced Academic Programs (c/o Krieger School of Arts and Sciences)

Johns Hopkins is perhaps one of the most prolific universities in the country. I actually took the SATs in middle school through their Center for Talented Youth because my scores were high on our statewide standardized tests. I was getting some catalogues and magazines for their summer enrichment camps thereafter, but we couldn’t afford them, sadly. Further, I’ve accessed several peer-reviewed essays through Project MUSE, JHU’s nonprofit humanities/social sciences database. Thus, I was decently exposed to this school before I saw the ad.

I was prompted to express interest in a couple MAs: liberal arts, writing, science writing, teaching writing, global security studies, et. al. and communication. Since the last is what I’m currently studying, I thought that would make sense.

This program can be done completely online, which is…okay, I guess. I know they’re really flexible, but I don’t like online classes. I took one sophomore year, and most days of the week I forgot it existed. Of course, I guess it really depends on how it’s done or how you manage yourself. Anyway, I spoke with an admission rep, and she explained you can claim a focus or concentration if you’d like–a few of them are public relations, politics, or mass media. GRE scores aren’t required, but may be requested if you’re someone like me whose GPA is just a hair under 3.0. There aren’t very many grants or loans because it’s a private program. Cost is $4,000 course, or $40,000 annually. Typically, students finish their studies after two years, but they are given up to five if needed. Professors are willing to grant research assistantships or independent studies.

This was an alright ad for Facebook to display for me, but I don’t think I’m going to apply here just because of the cost and finickiness of financial aid ellegibility. Also, I’m wary of being educated online. Both me and my educators really need a drive and intimate attention for that to work, but that’s hard to come by, even for a prestigious place like JHU.

Stay ‘tuned for another installment…