I’ve started to see a new trend creeping up into the blogosphere. Several blogs that I visit on a regular basis have started posting “Sponsored Tweets” advertisements on their blogs. At the same time, those blogs’ Twitter feeds have started to have some extra tweets with #ad at the end of them. This really got me thinking about Twitter and how I use it, and what its future may be now that Sponsored Tweets is starting to make the rounds.
Unless you’ve been living in a cave (or don’t have any friends between the ages of 18 and 45) you’ve probably heard of Twitter. The unique “social media” network that allows people to briefly and creatively express their thoughts in 140 characters or less. What made Twitter so unique was that it was a stream of consciousness, almost spur of the moment reflection of what that person is thinking or feeling at the time. It was like back in the early 2000’s when I would constantly update my AIM or ICQ (remember ICQ?) away message to accurately reflect why I was away, only now I can do it while I’m walking to the place that is causing me to be away. It’s a perpetual, customized “away” message. At least that’s how I think it was early on.
Since it’s launch in October 2008, Twitter has seen over 1000% growth and has now been embraced by celebrities and companies as a legitimate way to communicate with us – the people who talk about baking chocolate chip cookies at 11:30PM (which I did do after the solid encouragement from @kayte71.) The rate at which companies have launched consumer outreach/service campaigns that leverage and embrace Twitter is really quite astonishing. Have any of you seen those Best Buy ads for their Twitter based customer service Twelpforce? At my “real” job, Twitter has been thrown around as a way to promote meetings and events. Even I will admit that I use Twitter more to promote the blog and my exciting new posts than I do my random thoughts.
But now, with the introduction of Sponsored Tweets, it seems like the tweet-waves are at risk of losing the already semi-diluted “personal” touch that our tweets have. Will all of my favorite bloggers start infusing more and more sponsored tweets into their tweeting? Sponsored tweets kind of seem like those annoying pop-up ads that certain websites still have (thank God for pop-up blockers.) I guess I kind of feel like sponsored tweets are imposing their ads on me just like pop-up ads. Will someone eventually create a Twitter app that can automatically filter tweets that start with “Ad” or end with “#ad”? That would be awesome. Also, in my mind, it’s one thing to share something that I’ve actually tested out and experienced or eaten. It’s another to just send out an ad promoting a company or website. Or is it?
I can’t help but wonder whether as more and more companies start using Twitter for corporate promotion, will it no longer have the same purpose or vibe as it originally had. Is the 8% drop in month-month Twitter visitors a fluke or the beginning of the end, that will be hastened by the monetizing of Twitter?
Anyways, I just wanted to throw this out there and see what you all, my readers, think about Sponsored Tweets. Love em? Hate em? Don’t really care? Ultimately, I don’t think I’m going to go down that road. I already feel bad enough with tweeting you about giveaway end dates (I convince myself they’re just friendly reminders.)