Did you know that Target has a Guest Market Analytics Department? Don't you want to know why it's the cover story in yesterday's New York Times Magazine?
Target apparently assigns a Guest I.D. Number for every shopper, and keeps track of everything you buy. Target can also buy additional information about you --- your age, ethnicity, job history, even the magazines you read.
Then they do "predictive analytics".Which means making sense out of all this data so Target can predict your behavior and make the most of it, such as knowing if a woman is pregnant in the second trimester. With that information, Target can offer her promotions for herself and her baby, with a chance of making the mom a customer for life.
It's not just Target. Think of that savings card you use at the supermarket. By now, the store knows if you have a pet or kids or live alone, what you drink and how much, if you get heartburn, are a vegetarian, whether you like fresh food, frozen food or canned, and how often you shampoo and clean your home.
You don't have to think of this as being extremely nosey. It can also help the store know what coupons to send you and what kinds of products to stock. But it is pretty nosey.
On top of all this, your social media entries contribute to the public information about you. What Google and Facebook do with your personal stuff is currently being looked at and debated.
Research has shown that most of us would seem willing to give up our personal information if we get something in return. That's exactly what's happening. You get discounts and offers in return.
And all you're giving up is your privacy, your identity, and maybe some freedom.