The changing face of Twitter

Will long-time Twitter users accept ads being involuntarily attached to their streams? That’s the multimillion dollar question.

While rumours persist that Twitter is working on its own advertising platform, other players are entering the mobile advertising fray. Take for instance a Mar. 2nd New York Times article that warned users running a mobile version of HootSuite on iPhones and Android-based devices to expect an ad service called 140proof to be integrated into that mobile app. The ads are posted to the user’s stream as 140proof’s algorithm aims ads at users based on their profiles and other public data. Privacy concerns aside, it’s this sort of nonsense that will steer the average person away from Twitter.

Twitter image courtesy

I can’t help but recall a comment made by social media whiz-kid and author Julien Smith in Toronto a few months back when he said, “We will never need more advertising. We will always need more connection and community.”

And yet, more unwelcome advertising is exactly what we’ll receive. So much for building a valued community via Twitter it would appear.

To be fair, Twitter has a right to make money and so it should. Despite the immense and increasing popularity of the microblogging service, Twitter has been repeatedly propped up by investors since its inception in 2006. A company that doesn’t make money is simply not long for this world. But is there a better way than forcing its users to be subjected to unwanted advertising?

Moreover, will there be a revolt? Twitter has been blessedly advertisement-free until now. And while there are ways to minimize one’s exposure to the Twitter ad streams, it’s a question of time before it’s simply inescapable.

With respect to Twitter’s own advertising platform plans, details are scant at best. But one report suggested ads on Twitter will be linked to the search service, so that only users who search for something on Twitter will see related ads. Other users will not see ads in their regular Twitter stream.

Meanwhile, some have suggested Google Buzz is the “Twitter Terminator” but I disagree. What could “kill” Twitter, or at least the general public’s enthusiasm for it, is subjecting ‘tweeps’ (people on Twitter) to advertising in their streams.

Which begs the question: what will you do once the ads start popping up in your Twitter stream? Will you stop using Twitter?


About @LiamLahey

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