The launch of Twitter’s own advertising platform, Promotional Tweets, is risky for several reasons.
Firstly, the monetization of these platforms, while inevitable, goes against the very attributes that made these new social platforms so compelling – people could connect free from advertising and its ulterior motives.
Secondly, as with any new business model, there is a learning curve during which the founders experiment running the risk of alienating much of their base while they work out exactly the right balance to strike.
Thirdly, advertising is an insatiable beast that will increase in volume, sophistication and penetration.
In short, my concern is this – as advertising penetrates further and deeper into the wormholes of social networking it may strike at the very heart of the open source promise that is the internet.
This promise, and the solutions it may reveal, are critical at this historical moment as the world faces with so many crises that compound the urgency for solutions.
I believe social technology is teaching us to be human again. It’s effectively re-humanizing us by allowing us to use synaptic tools to relearn the rules of effective communication, engagement and connection. As such it is awakening in us the hope of global renewal through our collective consciousness and efforts.
If advertising penetrates the virtual world as deeply as it has the real world, it may well, much like a cancer, cost us not just the part of the body that is directly infected but poison the entire social eco-system.
I realize that to suggest that social networks not monetize their platforms is naïve and unrealistic. But I caution them to consider to what extent they exploit social goodwill to serve their own interests for they might just become a casualty of their own ambitions.
What are your thoughts or concerns – is the Twitter ad platform a good thing and how do you regulate it?