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Twitter Ads

Illustration by jolieodell, through Flickr

Illustration by jolieodell, through Flickr

By Ava Naves, Principal


Local Internet celebrity John Chow has been in the news quite a bit in the last few days, thanks to his introduction of ads to his Twitter updates (Here are the original articles in The New York Times and in The Gawker).

I have posted a couple of comments on other sites about this, which pretty much express my thoughts on this one – at least up until this point in time. I’d be a fool to think that my opinion might not evolve as I hear more on both sides of the equation.

The first comment I wrote was in response to Philip Novak’s link to The New York Times, posted in his Facebook page: It reads…

” I have mixed feelings on that one. On one hand, the original tweet about M&Ms did have “(Ad)” in its text. In addition, if people dislike John’s commercial tweets, they have a simple choice, which is to unfollow him.

As a marketer, I’d be very skeptic about recommending this ad platform to advertisers. It’d be interesting to see what kinds of conversions those ads receive, and how they affect not only the advertiser’s reputation, but also the reputation of the Twitter user who originally posts it.

As a Twitter user, I wouldn’t dare sending a Twitter ad to my followers. It decreases the intrinsic level of trust that brought Twitter to where it is now. And if someone I trust and follow began to post those ads, their reputation would take a quick plunge, leading me to unfollow them.”

Then, a little earlier today, I posted this second comment, on Patti Schom-Moffatt’s blog post:


As you probably know, John Chow made the news because he started incorporating ads in his Twitter stream.

I personally wouldn’t integrate ads in my Twitter updates, largely because I feel that it betrays the trust between myself and my followers.

Maybe John Chow’s followers may not have been surprised that he’d adopt this practice. In that case, whether or not he runs Twitter ads might not necessarily hurt his number of followers.

But what if an ad runs through a Twitter account where followers did not see it coming? In that case, it would be interesting to see the long-term effects on the reputations of both the advertiser and the Twitter account that published the ad.

I could see this ad model working for Twitter accounts that already include information about commercial offers, like coupons, discounts, local offers, etc, but not for others that have built their reputation based on the personal tone in their conversations.

Last but not least, if anyone is insulted by the ads, they always have a choice: unfollow whoever published them.”

So this sums up my thoughts on this… for now.

Would love to hear your opinion. Do you agree? Disagree? Why?

Will Twitter’s Geo-Tagging and Reputation Features Help Traditional Journalism?

By Ava Naves, Principal


I read a few minutes ago that Biz Stone, Twitter’s co-founder, announced in London on Thursday that, at the end of the year, Twitter will offer premium accounts with features to help businesses capitalize even more on that social network.

These features will include access to analytics data, and according to MarketingVox, “the ability to geo-tag individual tweets” as well as “tools to recognize which users have higher reputations than others”.

So… that’s got me thinking. As we all know, recent events, such as Michael Jackson’s death, and several developments during the last elections in Iran (e.g. Neda’s death), were first reported on Twitter before being confirmed by many major news outlets, including CNN. Discussions abounded with respect to the fact that the Twitter population was largely accepting as truth what some Twitter users reported, before facts could be validated through standard journalism practices.

Here’s where I see a hypothetical opportunity for reputable news outlets to vindicate themselves on Twitter: take the soon-to-come geo-tagging feature, mix it with the ability to identify users that have higher reputation (partially through the number of followers), and just for hypothesis sake, add a touch of PageRank. What do you get? The ability to pinpoint Twitter accounts that are the most reputable at a specific location. (Post-edit: I know, I know. PageRank is a Google technology, but wouldn’t it be nice?)

Let me illustrate: the New York Times Twitter profile has a PageRank 7. For those unfamiliar with the concept, PageRank is a metric that Google uses to indicate the importance and reliability of a web page (not a web site). The higher that number, the more importance Google has assigned to that page. Not only that – NY Times’ Twitter account also had, at the time of this writing, 2,107,499 followers, which is a stratospheric number reflecting the importance that Twitter users have given to updates from that account.

Then, poor New York Post has, by comparison, a measly 19,983 followers, and a PageRank 6. What if you were looking on Twitter for an authoritative news source to read about what’s happening in New York, using the geo-tagging component?

Let’s imagine a map tool on Twitter, similar to Google’s own. You would then zoom into New York City, and the service would return a list showing accounts in that area, ordered from the most reputable to the least. It’s safe to assume that The New York Times would be, if not at the top, very close to it – while the New York Post would be ranked considerably lower.

In the event of a major news event, Twitter users would refer to that map to see which accounts could be trusted in that locality. What would they see? Surprise, surprise – NY Times’ account close to the top of the list, with others ranked lower.

When Michael Jackson passed away, this would have translated as LA Times deemed as a much more trustworthy Twitter account to follow than, for example, TMZ.

Now, this doesn’t mean that Twitter users would decide to follow what the LA Times has to say instead of TMZ – but at the very least, it would be a boost to “traditional” news sources’ visibility on Twitter.

Can’t wait to see what concoctions will be coming from the Twitter kitchen at the end of the year. What about you?

Online Marketing Social Life in Vancouver 101

By Ava Naves, Principal


A lot has happened since the last time I published a post – all very positive. In the meanwhile, here is a quick guide to some events that you might want to keep your eyes on, if you reside in the Greater Vancouver Area:

Third Tuesday – the last speaker was Tod Maffin. Well worth taking the time to attend this informative – and entertaining – presentation. Tod Maffin frequently makes stops around North America, so if you have a chance to go to one of them, I highly recommend it. If you’re lucky enough to see the presentation that I saw, it’s likely that you’ll never see bees in the same light. This meeting’s profile on mentions Joseph Thornley as the mastermind behind. Though I haven’t yet met him, I know that Monica Hamburg or Tanya Davis have always been doing a great job at organizing these gatherings.

Net Tuesday – I’ve already blogged about this event and included some videos. Organized by Elijah van der Giessen, this group focuses on social media and Web technology topics relevant to non-profits organizations.

The Vancouver Search Engine Marketing Group Рif SEO is your thing (as it is one of my many online marketing addictions), you might want to check out this get-together. The latest meeting took place on November 17th, and featured a presentation by James Laitinen, from the International Internet Marketing Association, discussing why you should care about Bing in your online marketing tactics. This group is organized by the fabulous Mr. Jos̩ Uzcategui.

A great resource to find other meetups around you is, of course, It contains a lists of meetups all across North America, and you’re bound to find a group that appeals to you.

So, you see, there can be an actual “social” element to your life in social media. Get out there.