Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Open Up Wide For Twitter

Here's what.

Despite the fact that Twitter started their 'Promoted' trending topics/tweets long ago, we never noticed before today what we discovered while scrolling our Timeline on Twitter...and well, it prompted today's little blog entry (we were due for a social media related one anyway) and a little digging around the internet.

What we saw is something we hope they will not be extending past "Promoted" trending topics (which simply means someone PAID to have it trend at the top:
https://support.twitter.com/groups/31-twitter-basics/topics/111-features/articles/142101-what-are-promoted-tweets) into the world of big business on Twitter, but from what we can tell...it's going to grow from here, because, well...that's how things go in this consumer driven world, by shoving advertisements down our throats. Think it's normal, all the ads we are exposed to around ever single corner and on TV? Meet someone from Europe and sit down to watch a sitcom with them, you'll hear them bitch about the barrage of advertising. Just one example for you (in addition to sharing our own experience of actually living with a Brit who bitches constantly about all the advertisements): http://essays.henryandjacqui.com/gpage3.html of just how much more the United States is driven by consumerism.

Anyway, back to the matter in topic.

It's not the advertising in general that we are concerned about (it's just a widely accepted part of American life, at this point), it's the effect on people who use Twitter.

For example:

Note: We DO NOT follow McDonalds on Twitter.

#BigMac is a trending 'Promoted' topic today on Twitter (meaning McDonalds paid for it to trend).

This afternoon we found a "Promoted" tweet in our timeline from McDonalds, it was mostly noticeable because the golden arches stuck out like a sore thumb in our timeline.
At first we though one of our followers RT'd it, but we quickly realized it contained a small footer on it saying "is followed by " (who was someone we were following).

This meant that because someone we followed also followed McDonalds, that alone was giving McDonalds permission to advertise to us, in our timeline...on her behalf.

So guess what that promoted us to do? Unfollow the account who follows McDonalds to prevent further advertisements in the future.

We're probably not the only ones to unfollow (providing anybody else even notices these ads) based on something like this.

In addition, now that we understanding that businesses we follow on Twitter will hijake OUR followers timelines and feed them with advertismenets, we're even more unlikey now, than we were before, to actually follow a business on Twitter...and will absolutely prompt us to unfollow people who are following businesses that use this tactic of advertising.

But you can opt out of these promoted tweets, right? Nope.

Which means you won't see that particular ad again, but you will have to see others.
    The ad may have appeared simply because #BigMac is trending (and therefore, today, McDonalds is the only business we will be exposed to), and we may have only noticed it because of the new (shitty) update Twitter forced on some Twitter users, or maybe that's part of the "new package" (word is that not everybody has been "blessed" with the update, which contains the same glitches and problems, but now runs freezes slower for your enjoyment, thanks to it's increase JavaScript coding), but it's a really shitty system they are setting up for users and advertisers on Twitter, and it's likely not to be one that they will curtail.

    At least on Facebook the advertisements are off to the side; on Twitter it's like advertisements in a book your are reading "cleverly" woven into the text. Open up wide, Twitter has some advertising to shove down your throat.

    Six month old articles, but relevant articles:
    Other stuff we've written about social media topics...

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