They say that baseball is “the thinking man’s game” and by “they,” I really do mean “they.” Because, I don’t know who, exactly, said it. Or, who said it first.
I’m just going to go ahead and say, they’re right.
But, apparently, bad news Baltimore Orioles fans.
Because Facebook just informed me of this:
Here’s the deal. A friend shared this article with me, discussing how Big Data companies can discover all sorts of things about you based on all the internetting you’ve been doing, and, in the case of this one particular study, all the things you’ve liked on Facebook.
I know, I know, you’re not surprised by any of this.
And, I know, I know, cool people don’t use Facebook – but, I’m one of the more than one-billion people worldwide who does.
And, even less-cool people willingly share their information with Big Data engines, like I just did. But, the study was through the University of Cambridge, which is, best I can tell, about as safe as online things go.
I’m old enough to be wary of online scams and sharing too much information, but I’m just young enough to figure, what the hell, go ahead, tell me something about me, what’s it gonna hurt?
Political observers believe that using Big Data as a way to carefully craft and target online political messages helped lead to the successful “Brexit” vote in the United Kingdom last summer and had a significant effect on last November’s presidential election here in the United States.
In the name of science, and to save you the trouble, I went to the University of Cambridge’s Psychometrics Centre website to see what I could learn.
(March 21, 2018 Update: Because of the current concerns of Facebook Apps sharing data inappropriately, I have removed the links to the University of Cambridge website in this post. I don’t want to encourage anyone to share information if there’s any chance that it will be misused. I like you too much to expose you to online creepiness. Now … back to the post … )
OK, magic Internet Sorting Hat. I’ll give you the keys to my Facebook likes. Sort me.
They’re pretty sure I’m male. Their reasoning includes the fact that I “liked” the TV show “Seinfeld.”
Not off to a good start. They got the easiest demographic of me completely wrong. Even a 4-year-old can get that one right — you’ve got a 50-50 chance after all — so, seriously, not impressed, Internet Wizard.
(Just to be clear, I don’t “like” Seinfeld. I “LOVE” Seinfeld. This, I figure, tells you more about my age than anything.)
They did figure out things like my work style, how stressed out I am (not very), my life satisfaction, political orientation, and religious leanings. (Fun Fact: liking the MLB Channel makes you appear more Catholic.)
They also figured out – correctly – that my education was in journalism, and not because I like The New York Times and The Washington Post (which I do), but because I like Bob Dylan and Comedy Central’s The Daily Show.
Anyway, they also said I was kinda smart (that Nobel Prize-winner Bob Dylan was the dead giveaway), but then they also said I’m a guy, so I’m not getting too excited over any of this.
Then they tempered their enthusiasm for my smarts by suggesting that these things make me appear, well, sort of stupid:
Seinfeld, Wilco, and the Baltimore Orioles.
The Baltimore Orioles?
It’s not baseball in general that makes me appear less intelligent, because I “like” many baseball-centric things on Facebook. It’s just the Orioles.
You could say, “Willingly giving your information to a Big Data engine was the real stupid-maker.” (Yes, I heard you say that and all I can say is, that wasn’t very nice.)
Anyway, I feel bad about Wilco, who I have always liked and considered a thinking man’s (and woman’s) band.
But, let’s be honest here, in the “like” department the Baltimore Orioles are one of my likiest.
And, apparently, they are making me stupid.
Not that I care. Except I do. And, it’s really annoying me.
So, just to be safe, from now on, I’m going to listen to more Bob Dylan and see if I can build up some extra smart credits that will cover me through the Orioles’ season.Embed from Getty Images
Because I’m not unliking them.