Image via CrunchBase
by Frank Reed
There has always been considerable buzz around just how Twitter would make money. Everyone has always been so concerned for the welfare of Twitter. Why? I honestly don’t know. Maybe it’s because people can’t imagine their life without Twitter if it were to “go away.” I suspect that the last statement is more telling than if Twitter will ever make money. If we must ponder a Twitterless life and be concerned about that possibility, that is more worrisome than anything else.
As for all of the hubbub about Twitter and ads? I say, “So what?” Some have been on Twitter from the start and bemoan the acceptance of Twitter by a larger audience. (I won’t say mass audience yet because Twitter definitely is not for everyone—just ask teens and other younger folks.) For the Twitterati, imagining life without Twitter is the end of the world as they know it. Not only are there too many people who are not cool enough on Twitter, but now ads are showing up. Call it a day. For these users Twitter is dead. I still say “So what?”
As for those of us who came on board within the last two years? Well, we’re the reason that Twitter is now ruined for the cool kids (actually the geeky, nerd, tech crowd which has never been very cool other than amongst themselves). By coming on board and turning the Twittersphere into the spam-filled, self-promotion tool that it is today, we have made Twitter more mainstream. Unfortunately we have also made Twitter unbearable at times. I know I limit my time there because it’s hard to stomach the auto-responses, multi-level marketing offers, and self-proclaimed social media GuruExpertTitanMasterNinja types that are now pervasive throughout the Twitter experience.
So putting ads in Twitter, to me, generates a big “ho hum” as a user. I never pay attention to paid search ads on Google (which I am not saying is the norm, it’s just how I do things), so seeing an ad on Twitter won’t be a big deal. I am most interested in seeing just how quickly I develop Twitter ad blindness. My ability to mentally block ads on virtually all things online has strengthened considerably over the past few years. Now, even the most obnoxious expanding ad can’t stop me as I have developed an incredibly quick “close button” finger.
As an advertiser? It is just too early to tell. I realize that how I approach these things may not be how the masses do. In fact, the first ads will be attached only to Twitter search results, a feature I rarely use. I would much rather find a good strong list of people to subscribe to and get my information from “trusted” sources rather than leave my information needs to the Twitterverse at large.
In fact, I see Twitter as turning into the old version of New York’s Times Square. Before it became the pseudo-Disneyland that it is today, it was the seediest area of the city. It was filled with unsavory characters and the home of every vile and despicable thing that the world had to offer. And it was all in the open. I see Twitter moving in that direction, unfortunately. It is so full of junk, hucksters, online “three-card monty” types, and just plain BS, that it’s sometimes difficult to stomach. Now, add to that the glitter of advertising, Twitter’s version of flashing neon that is still synonymous with Times Square, and you have something that will be hard to handle.
Twitter assures us that it will be stressing relevance of ads. Well, Google did the same for AdWords and that is still a work in progress. By the way, folks, Twitter is no Google either. It will take them a long time to sort through and sort out the good, the bad, and the ugly of advertising and relevance in the wide open world of Twitter.
As for me and my family? We say “So what?” to Twitter ads. It’s just another thing to adapt to and filter out to the best of our ability. Will I ever click on a Twitter ad? I can’t predict that. I will say though that if I do it will be for a very good reason and I will hail Twitter for breaking through my bias.
What about you? Is this a big “so what?” or is it the best thing to happen to the Internet in a while? Let’s hear your thoughts.