The new exciting phase of the internet has only just started and its not as scary as you think - its a big place, you are just a tiny person inside a massive cave on an even bigger iceberg where 90% of the mass is hidden floating in a planetwide ocean of liquid - the scale incomprehensible to the tiny little man in his cave. You might think you are pretty on top of things and you see pretty much everything on the internet, you don't, there is a galactic trove of stuff every day you don't see, you are this tiny man. And unfortunatley big advertisers pretty much determine what gets shown to you in your cave.
Its 2013, almost 2014, the internet as we know it has become a cesspool of ideograms and funny videos, some might say that the greatness of this amazing new platform has been commodotized and turned into a marketing machine. Funded by advertising, I estimate at least 30% of served content is advert related.
Running collusion for 5 minutes shows me how closely monitored I am, and the picture that can be constructed of me by using cookies and/or looking at my unique browser signature (read this to find out more: Panopticlick) If enough of these online trackers pool their data, they can create a very clear image of me online.
The concept of a free and open digital world is dead, deal with it - it is an antiquated notion that you can look at whatever you want online and nobody will know, sure most of these trackers are harmless ad scripts but if used collectivley with fingerprinting then you can paint clear pictures of people and what they like, where they go. The NSA is clearly keeping an eye on you - but the advertising platforms can technically get even deeper into your personality - Google has a fairly clear idea of who you are and it uses this information to make advertising more relevant to you- and increasing profit. I personally do not mind this as it is sometimes helpful, subtle remiders in advertising are oftentimes useful.
It is possible to anonymize yourself and your browser headers if you know how, changing browsers and profiles, adjusting your resolution can confuse fingerprinting. I am not sure why you would want ot remain off the grid, when I first signed up for facebook I used a nom-de-plume which kind of defeated the point, I had three friends and the site sucked, it was only when I engaged fully with the service that it became useful.
We are currently playing in a space that I am playfully calling Web 3.0 (its logically the next step up from web 2.0 - the interactive community supported web). If you start engaging with the new corporatocracy of the internet properly and "sell out" your online profile, your experience actually gets better - moving into a space where big data is the driving force behind what you see online and with advertising merging into the content and memetic sphere there is no longer a clear dividing line between "content" and "advertising". It is inevitable that your experience online will always be at first decided by your choices your answers to questions like: "what app do i install", "which is my favorite gossip site", "which music do i like" and "what phone do I buy" will be supported by this pervasive layer of advertising.
In short, do I like the advertising layer that shrouds the internet? No not really, do I hate it. no. Not Really, I will deal with it. It is possible to hide away from it all and enjoy a pristeen experience but not for long, what we are seeing as advertising online is only the tip of the iceberg - I found myslef watching a 90 minute advert the other day - I really enjoyed it (You know who you are Red-Bull). The line between content and advert is disappearing fast. You will not be able to hide away forever so you might as well do it properly and set up your profiles now, I suspect that there will be controls in place for controlling what ads you see and choosing not to see certain ads. If you are a Sony Fanboy and do not like to see Apple ads then so-be-it, if Apple wants to find you they will have to get you the old fashioned way, not with in your face banner ads and video pre-rolls - but by writing compelling content that finds its way to you thgrough unmoderated channels, your friends and the soft media - "Soft Media" is what we get when users actively go out and seek information about a brand or product its the holy grail of marketing and its quite easy in the current landscape...