I’ve never liked Twitter as a company. At points I’ve had some regard for the communication stream enabled by the company, but them as an entity at best I’ve tolerated and at worst I’ve wished them into the cornfield. I’m not sure of where this is all going but today I began noticing in my stream of updates from the people I have selected to follow Tweets with a special signifier that said “Promoted by Coca-Cola” and “Promoted by McDonalds.” That’s really the last straw from me. At one point I burned my own Twitter network to the ground, I worked out a way to get most of that value without touching Twitter at all and earlier this year I took a delicious month off from using it.
I don’t know exactly where this is going, whether this feature stands or what the backlash is. When Twitter began to get celebrity focused, when the primary ethic was that of having the most ginormous list of followers I cared less about it every day. When they have now turned the corner to take this stream and insert preferentially Tweets that big corporations want me to see, that’s the end of my ride.
You might say, “Dave, what’s the big deal? The ones you saw weren’t even overtly promotional.” That, dear readers, is exactly the problem. If it was “Buy McRibs, the most delicious meatlike product we could formulate for $0.17 a pound!” I would have less of a problem. Having ordinary looking tweets elevated to “must see” at the behest of McDonalds, Coca-Cola or whomever else pays for that privilege is deeply flawed. I would have basically no problem with banner ads on the site and maybe even banners showing between tweets. I’m no hippy-dippy type, I understand that somewhere down the line the power bill needs paid. When you can pay to make tweets a higher priority communication than that of the people I chose to interact with, I’m done.
I’m not sure the final endgame of all this, but starting today I do not check HootSuite all day every day. I’m not deleting my account, possibly there is some value to be extracted from this. However, I’m now in it for myself. When I use Twitter it is purely for myself and to pimp and whore whatever I want. It’s not personal – it’s all business to me. I didn’t make it that way, Twitter did. I’m just rolling with the new rules.