Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Media Studies

Reader 1

T. Kim-Trang Tran

Reader 2

Ming-Yuen S. Ma

Rights Information

© 2012 Madison L. Stove


As consumers spend more and more time online and using mobile devices, they leave an extensive data trail that can be captured; that information can be used to their benefit but might also be perceived as invasive. Technology advancements, such as data mining, are becoming more sophisticated and are delivering detailed personal information to the advertiser. Retailers, both off and online, such as Target, Safeway, and Amazon, will be inclined to maximize their sales by manipulating the data and targeting individuals. This has not always been the case—in the last twenty years advertising has shifted dramatically with the advent of the Internet and has shown some ability to take advantage of the information so far; this trend will continue exponentially over the next decade. The advertisers, capable of collecting vast amounts of data over a wide range of activities with the help of a middleman such as Google, will need to resist the short-term appeal of over personalization in favor of respecting the privacy—perceived or real—of the consumer, thus balancing the competing interests of the consumer and the advertiser. Without self-restraint, the advertiser will face backlash from an older generation and indifference from a younger, more technologically aware generation.