Summary of The Daily You

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  • Eye Opening


You can read this book two ways, depending on your perspective: If you are a marketer or businessperson selling goods or services, you can marvel at the skill and genuine cleverness with which media buyers and associated digerati companies have mined Internet connections to get beneath the skin of today’s consumers. As a result, they are getting ever closer to the marketers’ Holy Grail – the ability to target advertising to the right individuals and avoid waste. After all, people like receiving relevant ads, special offers and discounts, don’t they? On the other hand – and this is the perspective of author Joseph Turow, professor of communications at the Annenberg School at the University of Pennsylvania – this style of marketing leads to discrimination: Marketers’ favored consumers get better offers. Most people have little understanding of the law and find corporate privacy policies opaque. Turow explains (perhaps sometimes with too great a density of detail and jargon) that the public has had no choice in these developments. What if, he asks sagely, atomized advertising to individuals leads to a greater fragmentation of society and – as a side effect – undermines the economics of mainstream media, which are vehicles for bringing society together? getAbstract recommends his meaty exposition of one of the great dilemmas facing the information society.

About the Author

Media expert Joseph Turow is a professor of communications and an associate dean for graduate studies at the Annenberg School at the University of Pennsylvania. His nine books include Niche Envy, Breaking Up America and Playing Doctor.



Social Profiling by Stealth

In the 1990s, Nicholas Negroponte, a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab, concocted the hypothetical idea of a personalized electronic newspaper called The Daily Me based on extreme “content customization.” For instance, he wondered, could an electronic paper send a user interested in, say, cycling, a customized front page that featured the cycling news plus special deals at local cycling shops. In other parts of the Media Lab, staffers worked on films and television dramas with alternate endings so audience members could choose which outcome they preferred. Such content customization hasn’t yet turned out entirely as Negroponte predicted in the ’90s, though its day is fast approaching.

The advertising industry is using computers and the Internet to assemble unprecedented arrays of facts and figures about individual consumers. Marketers use this information to send personally relevant advertisements to targeted people, thus generating shoppers’ loyalty and increasing the chance of a sale. This process, now gathering more momentum, moves marketers toward their ultimate goal of cutting out the billions...

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