Sponsored Tweets… good or bad?

by Seth Hargrave on October 8, 2009

in Uncategorized

At the risk of losing some credibility as a “professional” in the interactive space, I’ll share a little confession. I hate Twitter. There, I said it. I’m not really sure why I hate Twitter. Perhaps it’s the fact I don’t have enough space on my desk for another computer monitor, or perhaps it’s simply that I’m long-winded enough to NEVER be able to say anything of value in less than 140 characters. One thing I do know is that I don’t give a rat’s behind what Ashton Kutcher had for breakfast. In any case, Twitter simply isn’t appealing to my personal nature.

With that said I digress. The marketer in me is intrigued, and as the long-standing battle rages of how to “effectively monetize” Twitter, I’ve stood by with bated breath to see which mega media or tech mogul swoops in to buy them out and proceed with the money making. Of course in the mean time, what is an interactive marketer to do?

Sure, there’s a hundred different ways a brand can use twitter for social outreach, but what about ADVERTISING? A brand constantly barraging its followers with ads is Twitter suicide. You just shouldn’t do it. Social is all about personalizing the brand, so interaction is key.

Considering the importance of interaction, and the many effective uses of Twitter we’ve seen of late by brands, I ran across an interesting company today that’s introduced me to a concept I’m a bit torn on. See SponsoredTweets.com

So what I’m looking for here is some insight. My first reaction was “Cool! Now I can pay Ashton to say how much he loves his CoCoa Puffs.” Then my conscious got the better of me, and I thought about the ethical questions surrounding endorsements in the social spectrum. Granted, Sponsored Tweets touts “disclosure”, but how might this type of monetization serve to break down the authenticity that makes social media so powerful? I’m still torn on the issue, but tell me what you think?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael Hubbard Michael Hubbard October 8, 2009 at 4:35 pm

First of all – I’m proud of you! You’ve finally admitted Twitter exists! Second, the FCC is coming down on bloggers for paid endorsements, and I’m sure that when you start getting into micro-blogging it’s going to be a real gray area. How can you endorse a product on twitter and in under 140 characters say you’ve received a free t-shirt for doing so. Maybe they’ll add #adv like they tried to do with CANSPAM… Will be interesting as we don’t have enough regulators to monitor it – so I’m sure it will be self-monitored for a long time to come.


Mike Atkinson October 8, 2009 at 5:35 pm

I love how these twitterholics are now “celebrities”. Michael, do you need security from the paparazzi?

Seth, when I read your post, the words “somebody’s got to get paid” kept ringing in my head. I mean, that is the American way, right? But seriously, I do believe in the concept of social shopping, but services like this one will kill that trend. Authenticity will start to be questioned and more often than not, my guess is these posts will probably be found unauthentic more often than not by these so-called “web celebrities”. Ha! Sorry, I’m not hatin’…but c’mon.


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