Thinking About Sponsored Tweets

Over on our book blog, I wrote a longish post about the hot social media topic du jour: sponsored tweets in your Twitter stream. Here’s an excerpt:

Things get punchy whenever people explore monetizing a new channel. Let’s begin by thinking about some other controversial forms of advertising in social media, and how sponsored tweets might relate:

  • Static ads on blogs – Not particularly relevant. In my experience, the majority of income from blogging comes from one’s archives, not the front page flow.
  • Sponsored posts – The blogosphere dabbled with these for a few years, but I rarely see them anymore. This could be because I don’t read the sort of blogs that would employ sponsored posts, or because they’re utterly forgettable, but I don’t think they’ve caught on in any significant fashion.
  • As in RSS feeds – This is somewhat germane, though I usually see these ads not as separate feed items, but rather as add-ons to existing posts. Sponsored tweets are standalone units of content.
  • Ads in IM conversations – In a way, this seems like the most relevant comparison. That said, I’ve never actually seen an ad in an IM chat. I mostly use Skype or Google Chat, though. Maybe something like Omegle will start inserting one-line text ads into its hosted, serendipitous IM conversations.

There’s also the Facebook Beacon debacle, among others. In short, people’s tolerance for advertising in their social media channels feels pretty low.

I know it’s a bit lame to excerpt and redirect you, but what can I say? It’s a busy week ahead.

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