Bursting the Twitter Bubble

When Twitter first burst through the web-0-sphere, at the time it was a game-changing event, and was for a time the latest and greatest new web application on the planet, but recent events have caused many analysts, including me, to ponder whether or not its credibility has now been compromised.

In the last few days reports have emerged that celebrities have been paid to tweet their praise for various goods and services, (the going rate for celebrity tweeting reportedly ranges from $2,500 to $8,000 per tweet) and the main culprits in the pay-per-tweet scandal seem to be in the leisure and tourism industry.  Twitter, to its credit, has tried to shut these ‘pay per tweet’ companies down, but I wonder if it is already too late, and the damage might already have been done.

Add to this the next unpleasant Twitter phenomenon which is tweet-hacking, where just like in email hacking, people’s Twitter profiles have had their security breached, and unauthorised spam has been sent around, compromising the credibility of the poor soul whose account was violated.

Moreover, I have personally received highly inappropriate Tweets from various people who have sent me messages that have attached virii and pornographic images as well as links to some fairly dodgy content.

I am also very lukewarm on those who use it as a blatant sales tool, tweeting such turnoffs as “buy our latest gadget, click here…”, and those who do the classic bait-and-switch tactic, teasing their followers with promises of links to mysterious and intriguing content, only to direct them straight to a sales page where they hope by some fluke that punters will buy whatever it is that they are selling.  Not so smart.

Even beyond these flagrant abuses of the spirit of Twitter and its proper usage, I have pondered from time to time, about its very nature and the kind of users it attracts.  It CAN, at times, be a magnet for very banal content.  Do I, (and does the world) need to know that person x just woke up, or that they just LOVE Seinfeld re-runs, or that they have the cutest dog in the Universe, and here’s a picture?

I do wonder what is gained by the dissemination of this content.  Has Twitter become merely the latest platform for navel-gazing and narcissism?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Have you also fallen out of love with Twitter, or are you still going steady?

Yours in PR



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