Twitter and intrusive marketing

This week’s readings have reinforced that I am a late adopter. Both heavily discuss the benefits and uses of Twitter, a product that I am still leery of using. I don’t have any particular issue with Twitter; I just have no desire to use it. TV, especially reality TV has really embraced Twitter, and they definitely use it to collect user feedback. The immediate feedback is nice for companies, but I personally find it distracting.

In this week’s reading, Qualman introduced a term called “socialommerce”. Essentially, this is using collected information from social networks to provide a form of reviews or recommendations for products. The examples were interesting, but I feel like there are issues. I have a vast respect for reviewers, but not all people make good reviewers. Steve, in the examples, is choosing to trust the opinions of his friends to make pretty substantial decisions, rather than take some time to do additional research on the other options. Referrals are great, but they should accompany research rather than being blindly followed to save time.

Maybe I’m alone in this, but I appreciate my privacy when it comes to online usage. I like to provide reviews to some products, but I would rather put that review up on a related forum rather than connect it to my Facebook profile. I choose not to live my life online through my Facebook page, and I don’t want other people to know my buying history. It isn’t anyone else’s business how much camping equipment I buy each year, or what movies I have purchased. I’m already aware that web pages tailor their banner ads based on the cookies of recently visited sites, and that is intrusive enough to me. I certainly don’t want to share that information with everyone on my friends list. YMMV (your mileage may vary).

Qualman’s prediction of e-books reminds me of movies from the 80’s and 90’s so riddled with product placement that it was distracting. Nonintrusive product placement makes a scene seem more realistic, but some product placement appears too obvious and makes the movie look cheesy. If you have seen Back to the Future, the original Total Recall, or Wayne’s World, you probably know what I am talking about.

It is one thing to have the main character drink from a soda can that is just barely identifiable as a Coke. It is entirely different if he places an order asking for a “crisp and delicious Coca Cola”. This is what Qualman predicts might happen to e-books. The text would feature links to products or services that the reader could click on to find out more. This already occurs in blog posts, and I hope that it doesn’t break into all digital reading. Many people use reading as a way to escape the bombardment of marketing, advertising, and social media, and it would be a shame to see that taken over as well.

Posted on October 20, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. The image you used really makes me want pizza!

    I agree with you that people do appreciate privacy online, but I think that having privacy is difficult. Sometimes I get annoyed when I get emails recommending products to me based on things I’ve ordered in the past. I have enough emails and things to do that I don’t need someone advertising to me in a channel that I consider private. But, I’ve also bought things that have been email advertised to me and bought because of coupons I’ve received via email, which contradicts me not wanting to receive advertisement emails. I guess the right answer is if it’s a product I want and am in the market for I’m ok with the email…but if it’s something that I’m not looking for I consider it junk.

  2. I am with you on the lack of interest in using Twitter. I just made the acquaintance of a woman who works as a social media consultant for local businesses and she was telling me that what she had learned through her social media certification class was that to be effective on Twitter, you really need to Tweet around ten times a day. She said that is why there is an entire industry of people who ghost-twitter, because no one has time to do that unless it is actually their job, which I thought was really interesting. It also made me feel more justified for not being on Twitter.

  3. I’m not sure I would like if e-books started to have the same type of product placement as the movies you mentioned. I know now I have the ability to see what others have highlighted in the books I am reading and have found that annoying. I cant imagine having even more links for product placement.

    I don’t think the issue with the product placement of Wayne’s World is the same as those other two. I have seen Wayne’s World and they were so obvious about it, it was almost funny to me. As far as Back to the Future, I’m not even sure I remember what product placement was in that movie….I might have to go back and watch it.

  1. Pingback: Aaaa Haaa Moment | Communication Strategies for Emerging Media

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