Something that caught my attention this week was The Cut’s Associate Editors Kat Stoeffel’s talk was her observation that Twitter has become more of an online promotion network rather than a social site.
I have noticed this myself as I scroll down my Twitter feed. Many of the popular accounts who have many followers are advertising nail polishes, clothes, brands, sneakers – anything. The tweets are also not subtle saying something like: ‘I love wearing my new shade of @CoverGirl lipstick’ it is full on blunt promotions telling all the Twitter users to go buy a product.
It is not just Kat Stoeffel and I who have this opinion; it has become apparent throughout the media industry who are doubting what the uses of Twitter actually are.
On Twitter’s business website it states- “It’s a canvas for telling engaging stories, for participating in cultural events, for broadcasting content, for connecting directly with consumers, and for driving transactions.”
This contradicts the research conclusions made by two Virginia Commonwealth University professors who said: “The business media use Twitter as a promotional tool and are not building an online community.”
In my opinion these promoters don’t even match up to what their promoting- take Alan Garner @WolfpackAlan or also known as the ‘fat funny guy from the movie The Hangover’. Yes his tweets are funny, and it obviously isn’t the real person as he is fictional but his tweet earlier today was –
Now, not to be rude, but what does the ‘fat guy from the movie The Hangover’ know about exercise apps?! It is tweets like this that anger me, as this account user is obviously being paid to promote something much unrelated to their other tweets. I have un-followed many accounts due to this problem as they are blocking my newsfeed with promotions and links.
Today I read a news article by news.com.au which said that celebrities could earn up to $50,000 each month to promote products on Twitter.
“The carmaker Range Rover prepared to announce Monday that it recruited 40 people – including the British model Daisy Lowe – to drive one of the company’s new cars and recount their experiences on Twitter.”
These tweets are pre-written, and raise huge concern that fans following these celebrities do not know the tweets they are posting are paid for and they take them for actual suggestions and comments on the products.
I personally think that promotion on Twitter should be monitored. The network was created to connect people and businesses, not to sell products through direct promotion – that’s what eBay is for! I am all for promoting your business through Twitter as it is free and needs to be made full use of, but I think that promoting your products needs careful attention – as many, like myself, see these tweets like spam on our screens.
For anyone worried about whether they are going about Twitter the wrong way, click here for the Top Ten Twitter Etiquette Tips.