A lot of the discussion in last spring's capstone class revolved around Facebook, mainly because senior Natasha Lindstrom was reporting on the potential of widgets (or applications) to not only wreak havoc with your computer, but -- worst case scenario -- steal your identity. A few days after Natasha turned in her piece, all 4000 words of it, the LA Times broke a story on that very topic.
But we also talked in class -- well, they talked. I ranted -- about the way Facebook can deliver highly targeted audiences to advertisers based on what appears on users' profiles. And again, life follows capstone. In Thursday's Washington Post, staffer Rachel Beckman writes that every time she logged onto her home page, she was bombarded with diet ads.
"Maybe it's my age, my sex or the fact that it knew I was engaged," Beckman writes, "but the site decided I was a gal who needed to drop a few pounds. And it wasn't shy about its tactics."
The old Facebook fear was that prospective employers (not to mention university officials) would have far too much information about what a particular user did on a Saturday night. Now it appears you not only have to worry about losing your identity -- but admen telling you that identity just doesn't measure up.
Natasha, by the way, is currently doing good work as a reporter at the Victorville Daily Press.