Entertainment Style Kirstie Clements: Bless my non-existent bunions! Instagram thinks it knows all about me

Kirstie Clements: Bless my non-existent bunions! Instagram thinks it knows all about me

Are we using social media, or is social media using us? Photo: Getty
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There is much concern around at the moment about our 24/7 immersion in social media and the attention deficit we have as a result.

Instead of spending quality time doing the things that we love, many of us are spending way too many hours online swiping through other people’s holidays snaps, and party pics, eating into our own precious work and leisure time.

I was discussing it this week at a champagne dinner with a bunch of journalists, as we photographed our delicious food and posted Instastories of the Bollinger bottle.

“I’m thinking of going off Instagram,” said one fashion editor.

“I realised that about every third or fourth post is sponsored, which is a terrible waste of my time, scrolling through all those ads.”

She had a very good point, but in my experience, Instagram has a pretty good clue about the items you have been browsing, and the algorithm tends to send things you are interested in – although granted there are way too many of them. 

I get jewellery, and lingerie, and makeup, brands I have followed at some point in time. But Facebook and Google analytics on articles? They are just trolling me.

Every swipe, scroll and like leads to a new advertising algorithm. Photo: Getty

Much like the bowel cancer kit that greets you in the post on the morning of your 50th birthday, Google Analytics is a downer. (At least the bowel cancer kit serves a very useful purpose.)

Somewhere in my late 40s, Facebook decided I had eye bags (I do not) and unattractive abdominal fat that I needed to be reminded about daily (well, yes, maybe).

When I turned 50, Facebook thought I should be in a nursing home, which was a little premature, I thought. But my biggest mistake was looking up reflexology charts of the foot.

The Google universe decided I have bunions. I can go nowhere on the internet now without a chart of the foot popping up and showing me in graphic detail how the bone can spreads and separates below the big toe because of the pressure a human puts on it via walking – and apparently being alive too long.

While certain prescient books and films and episodes of the TV series Black Mirror entertain us with the mind-boggling magnitude and potential of Artificial Intelligence, it seems all that Google has ascertained from my internet history is that I am a fat old yeti with the worst taste in fashion ever. 

For a brief and sunny period, the ads I received were all Net a Porter and J.Crew, which was fine with me, but then one day I clicked on a pretty photograph of a swimsuit, which was just a ruse to get me to a bad website of cheap Chinese knock-offs.

So now I get daily ads of the most weird and horrible clothes in existence, kaftan tops, and crappy wrap cardigans. But the pièce de résistance was last week’s ‘fashion’ shoe pop-up: a truly, truly heinous creation that was part Croc, part clog, part health sandal, in garish multi-colour combos and painted with childish flowers.

And presumably marvellous for bunions.

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