A comparison between online and offline encounters with different types of stalkers. What if they're your future partner? What if ... they're your future president?
I'm a stalker. At least some call me that.
I'm curious. Overly-curious. Too curious, some would say. But where is the line between curious and too curious?
I only read what's out there in the open, public info. I don't dig, just merely scratch the surface.
I'm not alone. There are other stalkers out there. Some who dig deeper. Some who do it because they are obsessed with a person. Some who do it for the fun of it. And some who do it for a living.
This article initially published in Das Magazin has now finally been translated from German and the world's astonished. The authors document the online dimension of Trump's campaign. It is an absolute must, do not be intimidated by its length.
No, this is not an article about whether Trump's right or wrong. This is about how he got there. It's about the process through which voters were targeted and how did the message made its way to the audiences.
Despite such investigations, there are voices that think such political targeting is ok. As long as it does not cross the boundaries of legality, there is really nothing wrong with it.
It's legal - It's OK!
What if these boundaries have not been set yet though? Can we agree that an activity is legal only because there are now laws against it? Here's my chewable explanation of it.
Stalking for the fun of it
- An almost blind date -
Imagine you're going for a blind date. You don't really know them, in fact just a name and 2 common friends, but hope for the best. You get there, date goes absolutely fantastic. Same music tastes, favourite clubs ....oh and really? You a vegetarian too? Oh MY Gawd, I love sun-dried tomato avocado ruccola sandwiches tooooooo! Terrific. You get to the next level ;) and .. what?Was that it?
Never hear back from them AGAIN. Adios! Alles Gutte!
How could this happen? That $¤&%@* wanted sex and nothing more? At least you could've known upfront.. But what about those matching tastes and the whole vibe and everything?
That's a shame, innit? Well, this scenario is not a new one. Especially from Tinder onwards, users have been stalking each other to the bone prior to their dates. And I am no exception.
I'm not going to go in detail with the process - mainly Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram (which is often connected to Tinder). I knew what music they like, who their family members are, what their job is, where was the last holiday, what they had for dinner last night and so on. As you probably know, most folks share a lot more than that. So I just scraped the surface. Gathered public info and did my homework like a good student, prior to my date.
On the other hand, I'm a privacy freak. I try to get around with pseudonyms on social media and make use of my different first names in the rest of situations to make it harder to be found. If someone tried to stalk me, I'd assume they'd have to put slightly more effort into it.
Once face to face, it was easy to navigate the discussion. I had a lot more info on them than they had on me. I knew which strings to pull. I knew what is appropriate according to them. I knew what's not. I knew how to juggle. I had the info. I had the power.
The reason of doing so are personal.Unfortunately, not related to sex. But imagine it was. Imagine I was that person who - after the awesome date we had and all the common interests we discovered and all those opinions you agreed with - never called you back. I knew you love skiing so invited you to join me in the Alps next weekend. You got pumped up, you agreed. After a couple more tricks, you agreed to a lot more for the night.
And then I never called back.
Shit, innit? Legal, yet definitely shi-tey!
Stalking for a living - Trump & his mindfucks
Cambridge Analytica (CA) is the company that played "the stalker" in Trump's campaign.
The company's CEO, Alexander Nix, explains how they do it.
First, Cambridge Analytica buys personal data from a range of different sources, like land registries, automotive data, shopping data, bonus cards, club memberships, what magazines you read, what churches you attend. Nix displays the logos of globally active data brokers like Acxiom and Experian—in the US, almost all personal data is for sale. For example, if you want to know where Jewish women live, you can simply buy this information, phone numbers included. Now Cambridge Analytica aggregates this data with the electoral rolls of the Republican party and online data and calculates a Big Five personality profile. Digital footprints suddenly become real people with fears, needs, interests, and residential addresses.
In other words, they buy all the data thats's out there about you. In the screenshot below, the companies behind Nix are some of the data banks they shop from. Next step is finding out your personality features through a perfected OCEAN framework. The result: 200 million Americans put in 32 different personality types and profiled with all the info mentioned in the quote above. Nix shows :
Each targeted person had been subjected to this process. Nix explains in the above article that during the 3rd day of presidential debates
Trump's team tested 175,000 different ad variations for his arguments, in order to find the right versions above all via Facebook. The messages differed for the most part only in microscopic details, in order to target the recipients in the optimal psychological way: different headings, colors, captions, with a photo or video.
The effectiveness and efficiency of this method is tremendous. Not only it won Trump the whitest seat in the White House, but it also gave a hand in Brexit. Cambridge Analytica was also the company in charge of UK's Leave campaign. What a surprise, one would say.
I come back now to that initial idea of "It's Legal, it's OK."
It might be annoying to be fooled by an insecure Tinder date who can't play the game of love unless on safe terrain. It might be annoying to think you actually had a thing going on and the stars finally aligned. Have some wine, you'll get over it.
What Trump's campaign did was something quite similar. He knew what personality type you are, and a lot of other data about you and came to your romantic date prepared with the whole file. If you're an earthquake paranoid and got huge insurance on it, Trump orders the best on the menu: "Ban Muslims cause Earthquake for two, please!". You see, Trump is the one who'll never call you back, because all he ever wanted was a tiny f@ck... I meant a vote, sorry! A tiny vote.
In his post-election tour, he even comments on Clinton scheduling Michigan before him:
Nah, it's ok. Forget it. That PLAYS great before election, now we don't care, right?
Dude got what he wanted when it was important. Now, he doesn't care. No need to "call back". Sadly, a glass of wine won't solve this one.
But in the end... who cares, anyway? It's not like as if the future of democracy is at stake...
Photo Credits: Stalker by PsycheAnamnesis
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