On Twitter, “all of that following, all of that interest expressed, is intent. It’s a signal that you like certain things,” Dorsey says. In “promoted tweets, promoted trends and promoted accounts… you actually see introductions to content, to accounts or to topics that are deeply meaningful to you, because you’ve already expressed interest, you’ve already curated your timeline. And it’s a delightful experience.”
Seeing “Promoted” (i.e. bought and paid for by advertisers) tweets in your timeline is delightful? No. Personally I haven’t clicked on a single “Promoted” tweet.
I got to that interview after reading this blog post on Percolate, the purpose of which I have not been able to figure out.
Dorsey talked about capturing intent, which has been a big buzzword around marketing Google’s search advertising was coined as an intent miner. As I wrote then:
Twitter’s value is not about intent, in the classic funnel definition, it’s much more about awareness and interest: About exposing you to new products and services you didn’t know you were interested in.
So Twitter isn’t about people communicating with each other, doing journalism, or providing them a platform for expression, according to these geeks. It’s “about exposing you to new products and services you didn’t know you were interested in.”
Oh really. Isn’t that always what the advertising industry says? Commercials are educational because they teach consumers about new products and services? But that’s what we have reviews for.
Here’s how I inform myself about a new product or service, starting from the moment I become aware of it.
- I hear about something while reading an article, usually in a print copy of a newspaper.
- If I’m interested, I’ll search for more information by searching for reviews of it.
- If I’m approaching actually buying the thing, I will go to the company’s website and look at the product specifications.
No advertising in it at all. And no tweets, either.
Just before the holiday, I spotted this jaw-dropping review of Taco Bell on a website usually devoted to survivalism and predictions of economic catastrophe. Is it possible that a rational adult could actually write something like:
Let’s just start with the obvious thing: the food. It is, of course, wonderful and full of varied textures: crunchy shells, robust meat, cold and fresh lettuce, stringy cheese, and all the fatty stuff that we love because it both satisfies and gives us energy. It arrives quickly, and its ready to eat, mostly with your hands, which is really how we all want to eat.
… But there’s more going on than just fun food. The company obviously puts a great deal of thought into the ethos of the restaurants themselves. The decor gives us things to look at that we don’t see anywhere else. The colors are all those we associate with the Southwest, but not in a conventional way. The shapes are geometric and modern, with a daring flare that delights the eye and fires up the imagination.
The details around the place add to the sense of adventure, but you don’t take note of them individually unless you are looking closely. The backs of the chairs all have a bell shape cut out in the steel. The lighting is not mainly in the ceiling but rather comes from orange hanging glass lamps in the shape of cones, and I was trying to think where I had seen this before. Is it like the knave [sic] of a chapel in a monastery in a Spanish mission territory? Maybe that’s it. I’m unsure but it conjures up something different.
Hold on here. Perhaps you have already realized this and I’m slow on the take, but the whole Taco Bell experience is suggestive of that Spanish mission sensibility. That’s why the buildings are shaped the way they are. And, obviously, that’s the whole meaning behind the bell, and why it adorns the front entrance of the place. It’s a church bell! It taps into something deep and lasting in our cultural sensibilities, something that shaped our ancestors and their communities, and presents it all anew in our times.
Are you fucking kidding me? This is like something a 16-year-old would write for English class, if he’s really hopped up on Adderall that day. But the author is evidently an adult. And it’s like three times as long as that!
Maybe that’s the kind of person those advertisers are talking about. Wow.
Needless to say, it is a hoax.
Just as I predicted in How They Scored:
Twitter is in advanced talks with Microsoft and Google separately about striking data-mining deals, in which the companies would license a full feed from the microblogging service that could then be integrated into the results of their competing search engines.
140 characters is a novel when you’re being shot at.
— Oft-retweeted message on the #iranelection Twitter stream, presumably in answer to the objections
that posts on Twitter can’t offer much in the way of detailed news
One of the VPs at work sends around the news that management has taken to referring to “fiscal year 2010” as “FX.” How annoying is that? Just a little less annoying than someone referring to 2010 as “oh-ten,” which I’ve already been hearing.
In the same “newsletter” they’re holding a contest to pick the new name for the internal document repository website. To generate excitement, “the person who submitted the winning name gets $100. Cash. In this economy, cash can be useful.” Yes, but I thought the problem was that there’s not enough credit. Whatever. You know what would be really exciting? Give another $100 to a random person who votes for the winner. Now that would inspire everyone to vote.
Finally, they offer the news that our division of the company will now be posting updates on Twitter, the better to “keep you abreast of product and customer news, expert commentary, bylined articles, podcasts, blog posts, speaking engagements, trade shows, and more.” The only problem? Twitter is blocked throughout the company by IT.
Look at this — something called SocialWhoIs. The idea is:
Once you’ve setup an account on Socialwhois, you can create a more detailed biography (Twitter limits you to 160 characters), add links to more social profiles, and add in some interests, which then become clickable so you can find other people on Twitter and Friendfeed (who have also created Socialwhois profiles) with similar tastes.
Stuff like this is like the opposite of what I want the internet to be like. The guy who posted that has this problem:
While the names of some new followers I get on Twitter or Friendfeed immediately ring a bell, with others, I have no idea who the person might be.
Jesus Christ, if you don’t know who they are, why should you care?? Are you really on the internet to “find other people with similar tastes” and interests? Then go to a dating site, you tool!
This is why I’m not on Friendster or Facebook or even LinkedIn. I really don’t want to get into the whole etiquette of social networking. It’s already strange enough that people whom I don’t know follow my Twitter feed, but at least that doesn’t require any reciprocal action from me.
Then again, I realize I don’t have a great instinct for creating networks of friends in the first place.