Whether its Google ads or Facebook Ads or Amazon or some other tech company advertising arm, there is the ability to micro target audiences. Therefore if you have a product, service, idea, or whatever – something you want to get in front of others, you can. Quite easily. If, and it is a big if, if you know who it is for.
And in many ways, the more specific you are with your audience the better. It allows you to design your product, service, idea for them – not for a generic general, but for a specific person. And this specificity allows you to target them directly.
On the one hand this is a good thing. It enables people’s specific needs to be met. It is mass customisation at its heart. On the other hand, it is very individualistic in its approach. It’s extreme individualism and it can be a bit predatory. Micro targeting is all about delivering a certain message to a person that they want to hear. And often it is negative, preying on our fears.
So perhaps it is not all about designing for the user, the individual user. Perhaps we need to think about the community, society. What would it mean to ‘design for public good’?
What would that look like?