Social Media Quagmire

What happens when you build your business around a technology that disappears overnight? What happens when you build a client base, a pool of prospective clients or an otherwise niche demographic that is dependent on some other third party?

Many times it works out. Effective consultants have built their business on less than reliable third party access. However, there is an inherent risk that your way of life can change without any influence from you.

While Pownce has announced they are closing their doors (And we don’t really believe anyone outside of the Pownce four-some have built any kind of living around the microblogging service), I wonder what it would do to businesses built on the premise of Pownce availability?

The same goes for Twitter, where people have made an entire consultation around the use of Twitter. But what happens when Twitter goes away (and Twitter will go away at some point, undeniably without consultation with these consultants building their business on its existence)?

What happens when you as a consultant are hired to provide surefire, highly effective social media routines that will have a 95% possibility for 3-6 month positive effect on the growth and you recommend Twitter? And Twitter becomes 80% unreliable for an entire month, as it did in June and July?

What happens in a dying economy when companies want real returns and all you can give them is conversations with potential clients, and you have no solid way to convert those conversations into real customers?

Food for thought…

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Indecency in Common Areas (or how Twitter advertising schemes will get you canned)

The National Mall in DC is a fantastic place for everyone. It is often bustling with tourists from around the United States and around the world. The draw of taxpayer-supported Smithsonian museums, wide open space for people to walk, or eat, or socialize and beautiful scenery of the center of American government keeps the area bustling all the time.

The National Mall, much like the Roman forum where people came to freely exchange ideas and thoughts without pretense, is a public space that is open to anyone doing just about anything. However, there are certain things that are certainly not welcome on the mall. Without a license, you’re generally not allowed to sell things. You’re not allowed to, without license, setup your own sound system and hold a concert of some sort. You’re not allowed to have sex, or perform other activity considered “indecent”.

Twitter is that forum, that National Mall. It is a beautiful thing that allows for the free exchange of ideas and views. People converse and challenge each other. They unite behind causes, events and people. It’s great. However, recently, several “indecent” examples have cropped up. Specifically, with monetization of Twitter. Monetization of Twitter, depending on how it’s done, is polluting the common area. It is an obscene money grab, and I’m tired of it.

For instance, there is Magpie that will automatically insert a tweet into your tweet stream every 5 messages. The only disclosure is a #magpie hashtag. Josh Catone calls it a “terrible idea” saying:

You could find yourself shilling for something you’d rather not be. Unlike Google AdSense or other forms of display advertising, tweets that go out to your followers coming with your name attached and your implicit endorsement.

Right, no.

Twittad is less intrusive, and has less potential of affecting the Twitter community. With this model, advertisers “buy the background” of a Twitter users page. The only time it is offensive is if I am visiting a Twitter page that has such an ad.

Chitika has jumped on board by extending their advertising options to Twitter as well. In an email sent out this morning to their publishers, the company suggests its publisher tweet their referral link and provides the copy to do so:

If you are on Twitter, you can easily tweet your Chitika referral link to earn some extra revenue. For any user who signs up via this link, we will pay you 10% of their total earnings for a full 15 months. (Don’t worry – this money doesn’t get taken out of their checks. We pay this as a bonus to you!)

Post to Twitter: I’m earning good revenue from Chitika – you can check them out here: [link removed]

Very invasive. According to Chitika.com, the advertiser boasts 34,000 websites. If each one of those website owners tweeted their referral link, that is 34,000 tweets. By my best guess, that is an entire week of tweets that come across my tweetstream. Uh, no.

There is at least one other company that is getting ready to launch an advertising for Twitter option. In fairness to them, and because I don’t know what it’s going to look like yet, I won’t out them. However, I think it’s important to note that there will be more of these is Twitter users naively buy into the “easy money” routine. There is no such thing as easy money, and you will ruin your reputation if you engage in cheap money grabs on Twitter. I, for one, will immediately unfollow anyone engaging and I’m sure I will not be the only one.

Tread carefully.

Update: It’s been brought to my attention that the #magpie hashtag is no longer required, making it an even sleazier and subversive service.

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EXCLUSIVE: Tropicana Covers Election Day Twittering

There are a couple of election related Twitter projects going on including Twitter Vote Report, which we covered the other day.

Not on our radar at the time, however, was an interesting project from Tropicana that will take the expected high velocity Twitter coverage of the election all day and present it in a unique way. The experiment seeks to monitor hot buzz word frequencies and graph them in relation to one of the candidates in a series of “half rings”. The rings grow as the phrases and words are used in association with one of the candidates.

tropicana-election-tweets-full-view

tropicana-election-tweets-graph-view1

The hot words being planned are fixed at the moment, but will be added to as hot topics emerge throughout the day. Current words on the radar are Iraq, terrorism, freedom, economy and poll.

Twitter is expecting a record setting volume for Election Day with Twitter co-founder Biz Stone sending out an email to users today stating:

We anticipate record-breaking activity on Twitter all day tomorrow. We’ll be staying late at work watching Current TV’s Twitter-powered election night programming.

The Tropicana technical project lead is New Media Strategies and while we do not have a URL for the project yet (we were only given screenshots), this post will be updated when that information becomes available.

You can, of course, follow me on Twitter during the election or any other time at @technosailor.

Update: The URL for the project is anorangeamerica.com.

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