When Facebook suggested I be friends with Lady Gaga, I was not amused.
My position on the inappropriateness of Faceboook’s patent on the news feed portion of their service is well-known, and a cornerstone of our Search Engine Optimization practice.
I’ve also picked on Twitter a bunch of times. “What I ate for breakfast” jokes notwithstanding, the longer Twitter is around the more it feels like a cacophonous mass of mostly-me-too drivel.
This is less about the 140-character limit and the manner in which it encourages us to communicate than it is about the completely overwhelming nature of what comes at you on Twitter. I follow just a few dozen people, and I receive constant updates of their postings on my Droid, but still I know I’m missing most of what most of the people I follow have to say. It’s all but unavoidable; there’s just more noise being made than my eyes and ears can process.
A few weeks ago, Twitter introduced the ability to make sure the people following you see your tweets. It’s a revenue producer; promoted tweets are a way for big brands to force themselves into your timeline.
Not randomly. Not in the secondary stream on the right side of your screen (oh wait; that’s Facebook—and Google; Twitter doesn’t have one).
And not, Twitter promises, in an overwhelming way. Once.
OK, once each time they pay. Close enough.
“Promoted Tweets will scroll through the timeline like any other Tweet, and like regular Tweets, they will appear in your timeline just once. Promoted Tweets can also be easily dismissed from your timeline with a single click“.
Civilized. Placed where you’ll see the advertisement. And revolutionary.
Promoted Tweets only show up in the streams of people who have opted in to messages from a brand by following it, so since I don’t follow Lady Gaga or her record label I shouldn’t be receiving any promotions from her. And the beauty of the whole thing is that it’s simple.
You get advertisements. They’re for things you’ve already told Twitter you’re interested in. Sure the whole “these people know too much about me” issue comes into play, but remember, Twitter already knew who you like because you told them. Explicitly.
It beats the heck out of receiving complete junk, and having that junk clutter up your screen. And as long as Twitter stays with what they’ve promised to this point it’s … well, it’s fair. Twitter provides you a service, and now you can pay them back.
Of course, if he starts advertising to his gazillion followers this will mean that my previous statement that on Twitter you’re more important than Ashton Kutcher won’t be true any more.
But that’ll suit Twitter just fine. And it’s real business change