I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me.
So wrote Robert Louis Stevenson (My Shadow), long before the information age. He was referring to the noun: a dark shape caused by the sun or by candlelight.
To be shadowed is something different.
These days we find ourselves shadowed by on-line advertising.
For example, the other day I was telling my Ben about the magnetic stones we bought years ago at a national park gift shop. I rescued them from his give-away box, and they have lived on my desk at school ever since–much to the delight of my students.
What is it about magnets? Students never tire of playing with them. But I could not think of the name.
Google to the rescue! Within seconds, I had my answer: hematite.
And if I want more, forget driving all the way to Crater Lake. Amazon will drop-ship a set right away.
Of course you know what happened next. I acquired a shadow–or rather, my computer at school did. Advertising for hematite stones began to follow me.
This practice is called “remarketing.” My computer showed interest, so my computer will be shown more. On Facebook and all around the web.
This morning, Amazon e-mails me. Just in case I wanted another look at Hypnotic Hematite.
As a consumer, I am dismayed. Can’t I just look at something without being followed?
Ah, but as an indie author? Perhaps this remarketing thing is not all bad. For what if potential readers are looking at my books? “Want more Mr. Darcy? Click here.”
Which brings me back to Ben. Poor fellow, he was so excited when Darcy By Any Other Name was released, and he was checking the listing on Amazon multiple times a day. Ah, but then remarketing caught up with him.
“Mom,” he complained, “what the heck? Ads for girly romance books are everywhere I go! Ew!”
I think his manly pride was offended.
Well then. Perhaps I should be thankful that I’m being shadowed by something harmless as hematite?
What kinds of ads have shadowed you?