Paid 2 Tweet?

It had to happen, didn't it?

I mean it's hardly surprising, now is it?

Money and the need for money always winds up affecting, tainting everything:

Coolio! I just became an affiliate for TOMS shoes. Nice to promote something with a cause behind it - (aff link)Wed Jul 21 21:33:39 via Seesmic

And although, sometimes, I think... well... that wouldn't be so so bad, sit in my pyjamas all day and all that - paid to tweet and work the hallways of Facebook?

I guess I'm not the only,

not the only one...

RT @pascalvenier: ...Perhaps I should tweet for a living. Do U know of any global brand who would hire a professional twitteratti?Please RT.Wed Jul 21 20:33:52 via Echofon

But the thing is...


As long as it's obvious.

As long as it's not hidden.

Something just off the corner of dark grey.

After over a year being on Twitter, I guess I don't have a problem with company tweeters, especially when they're upfront about what they're doing (it's a bit annoying they're so incredibly self-centered but you get used to it - they just don't get that special word "social" in the words social media).

And some of them have indeed really made giant steps towards reaching out to Tweeters.

Some of them wear their faces.
Some of them still hide behind their company logos.
But hiding behind someone else's face?

I mean hiding behind the company logo enables them to use more than one person to communicate directly with so if you're a company, I guess, and you've got lots of employees, I guess why not?   But when you load up a face in order to present an image of your company as being personal and in touch  then, pretty much, you should probably make sure then that you are your face.  

Not having time to tweet isn't an excuse to con others.

Let's look at what Chris did there, up above,  I can trust that. 

I trust Brogan, after all he's been a good voice to follow along my entry into the 'sphere and along the road into the world of Social Media.  He's a very hard worker.  I trust him because what he does, is always right there: smack-dab in the sunshine and let's face it, a man's gotta earn a living and all that.

He added that signpost: aff link at the end of his tweet.

So if I go on to his link, it's my choice.

If I click I know that I am consciously going to click on something he's making money off of. 

But if someone I really trust in education gets paid to socially network and the story behind that isn't in the open,  it's just well, really-very-on-the-down-low... then there I am, clicking on links innocently and.... mostly ending up, probably, in the beginning, on items of authentic information but then... slowly, slowly getting recommendations about an xyz course, then I'll start ending up somewhere else on someone else's site promoting some product or service and um, uh, um... 

I will be spammed.

On my home turf.

From my Twitter or my Facebook Friend.

When I find out that this action of his was instead, actually, paid work, then well, here I am thinking that he's using me and a whole lot of other people, really.

Do the words unfriend and unfollow and block spring to mind?

I mean just what are all these online friendships - is it, is all this connecting and getting to know each other, just a way to get money from others?  Just a way to use people?   I don't want to be MissInnocentEduTwitterIsaLoveFest but I sure do hate to say it - I sure do hate to be conned...

Having the Net Advantage is not meant to be taking advantage of other people via the internet.    Or is it?

What are your thoughts?

Where are we?   Where are we heading today as social media explodes and the multitude of educational companies enter with two left feet...

How do you feel about teachers being approached by various educational companies to become their chief tweeters; to retweet links to their  PLNs?
Do you think there should be a code of ethics in place?   A requirement for transparency?

Can't we add the hashtag #paid or #sponsored or words "aff link" to these tweets too?

Or do these tweeters and their employers simply not trust us and our intelligence?

Go on, tell me:

Do you think I am just a really old-fashioned Caribbean girl who simply doesn't get it and there's actually, really, no longer any need to exist in a world that has a moral backbone?



p.s very important clarification for those not on Twitter but read my blog:  the post above of the Tweet from Christina is a RT (a ReTweet) of another tweeter's musings and it does not signify that either she or the original tweeter would actually contemplate doing this activity themselves.
PLN = personal/professional learning networks (group of teachers who connect globally on Twitter and various social networking sites). 

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like these:

The English Language Teachers Guide to Twitter
In the space of 140 characters
Thoughts on Friendship
Thanks for your ReTweets 
Facebook and the Edu-Marketers
Face on or Face Off

and from out in the blogosphere
Mike Harrison's post on Facebook & Friendship

On Going Public by Dudeney
Prestwick House shows how it's done by Jason Renshaw

Social Media Education: how?

and my favorite slideshare, updated
What the F* is social media NOW by Marta Kagan

13 Responses to “Paid 2 Tweet?”

    July 22, 2010

    Just had an interesting convo' via DM and tried to explain what's wrong with all this "stuff" and as my explanation was actually better than the reasoning above, I'll go on ahead and be the first to comment... by I'll rewriting my end of the discussion:

    Why is this an ethical question boils down if your mate walks into the room and says hey! You gotta buy this new mp3, beats the ipod hands down... there's no way you need to get an iphone, forget about it... the

    xzyzzz is AMAZING - it's just the best, best thing ever...

    And you bought it. After all, your friend, you trust the socks off him.

    BUT then, six months later you found out he was paid to give you that information.

    Doesn't matter, that yup, indeed the xxxzzzzyyy is indeed the very best mp3 player in the world (it makes coffee)... thing is,

    he didn't tell you he was paid to tell you that...

    you have a real bad taste in your mouth.

    That's why, basically,this stuff is wrong. Because it throws common decency and trust out the window.

  • Sue Lyon-Jones says:
    July 22, 2010

    Yes, I'm with you on this one, Karenne.

    Think it's a bit off myself when folks who really ought to know better tweet links that come bundled with undisclosed affiliate links, or worse.

    Experienced a close encounter of this kind recently with the URL4.EU shortener - clicking on links that have been shortened with it takes you to some ad-infested twilight zone rather than the original URL, which you then have to navigate your way off.

    Although I don't have a problem with people running advertising on their sites (I do so myself) I dislike this kind of "shove it in your face" approach sufficiently to avoid clicking any links that come bundled with a spam payload or retweeting them to inflict on someone else.

    Though in the short term this kind of thing might produce gains, it doesn't foster goodwill and I would guess it would be bad for business in the longer term, & might even lose you followers...

    Signposting, OTOH, I'm cool with - at least you know what to expect if you decide to click on it.


    July 30, 2010

    Hey ya Sue,

    Yes I hate that too. I have managed to work out though that "RSS2Twitter" is done by those who are spamming ads.

    My thing - and Mike Harrison talks about this on his blog - is when people disguise what they're doing...

    I don't know, given the number of comments on this post so far, it actually might be that others aren't really bothered!


  • Anna Varna says:
    July 30, 2010

    I'm with you Karenne too in this. I know exactly what you mean about leaving a bad taste in the mouth.

    My personal proble is that with all these affiliate links and shameless promotion of things, how will we be able to distinguish between sincere recomnmendations and not very sincere ones?

    For example whenever I find a very good idea in the textbooks I use I want to spread the word and thank the writer behind it, but nowadays everyone has become suspicious (and rightly) so my message sounds a lot like a covered ad...I don't like that, I don't want to censor myself.

    July 30, 2010

    Exactly the problem! I love recommending good stuff too.

    But I think this action is the tip of the iceberg and once other companies start catching on that they can take a short cut into social media by employing people with existing PLNs rather than taking the time to build one themselves (through sincere and genuine action) then where will we be left, when we can no longer trust the recommendations of our friends.

    I know, as I tweeted, that this action is pretty innocent - just a social media strategy - but I find it really dangerous and very much don't support the "greyness" involved, chiefly, because this sort of thing doesn't stay as one company doing it - once other companies cop on, then they'll have discussions with their marketing consultants - and all jump on the bandwagon.

    Before you know it, there will be hundreds of educators who are tweeting out rubbish and the value of creating our PLN - sharing our knowledge - will be completely lost.

  • Anonymous says:
    July 30, 2010

    I am very bothered. Advertising should be clear. If paid to tweet about tech tools or any edu contrivance, you should say so. Otherwise you would just use people, and only objects should be used.


  • David Deubelbeiss says:
    July 30, 2010

    Well said! This drives me wankers too and it is even more than "a bad taste in my mouth".

    I see it done all the time. I know that twitter is to a large degree about self promotion but when it is "business" and there is a profit motive / business motive behind a tweet. It should be labeled. And I don't think a hashtag is good enough.

    You reminded me to go back to a page I just tweeted about and put in bold that my work was "voluntary" lest anyone think I'm promoting a site for financial gain...conversations like this, help keep this issue in the fore and are valuable.

    Just to leave with an example S.D tweeted about English 360 mere hours ago. No mention of any association with Cambridge but to me, the tweet reeks .... nothing personal intended, it is just like you said - not transparent. You even have others tweeting about a certain Pearson site - and I wondered if their tweets were genuine or "fed". Just wanted to show how this happens so often now on twitter, it isn't a "from time to time" thing.

    Thanks for keeping this in the light. I'll have the same need/problem when I open up my ELT job site in a week. I'll have to be clear about things because it will be for profit (unlike my other sites).


    July 30, 2010

    Thank you so much for your comments, David, and examples.

    And for telling us about the ELT Job Site you're setting up because the thing is, that's a fantastic idea and a great business model - it will provide a service to teachers enabling them to get better jobs (and hopefully better paying jobs) so to earn an income from that work, makes 100% good sense.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong in this world from making money from the work we do.

    We wouldn't be able to eat if we didn't because well, food doesn't grow on trees anymore (but it does still in the Caribbean :)))

    The point, the thrust of this post was specifically that it is completely okay to be commercial, it's okay to be a company, it's okay to have a marketing strategy, it's okay to make money, it's okay to be "passionate about your products"

    It is okay to hire someone to specifically tweet out information related to your company.


    it is not okay to keep this information hidden.

    Those who hide, who use someone's friendships, developed over time,
    those who pretend to be something they're not



  • DaveDodgson says:
    July 30, 2010

    I first read this post early this morning but this was an issue I'd never come across. Since then, I've had two 'people' (not previously known contacts thankfully but still annoying) start following me, one promising the secrets of money making through the internet and another whose tweets are just spam adverts!

    Immediately blocked of course but my first experience of this on Twitter and intensely annoying. Unfortunately, it's kind of inevitable, like spam email.


  • Mike Harrison says:
    July 30, 2010

    That (people disguising what they're doing) is EXACTLY the way I see this and the Facebook thing. Thanks very much for mentioning my blogpost on paid Facebooking.

    FYI - I'm talking about people being employed by companies, bands, etc. to promote those things and network with fans on Facebook.

    My friend has actually been pbulic about what she's doing, explaining that she's going to have two Facebook accounts (one personal, one for band networking), but I wonder how many people aren't truthful about what they're doing (working to promote a company, band, product to people on Facebook and social media).

    It might be an extreme way of thinking about it, but I see it like this - I wouldn't Friend Coca-Cola, so I don't want them Friending me through my real friend. For me it's really not right.

    My thoughts on this here:

    July 30, 2010

    Don't want to be "friends" with the world's greatest soft-drink... how strange!

    Yes, basically, it's a bit of a joke. I think it boils down to laziness mainly - can't be bothered to learn about social media, I mean really how many articles, books, slideshares are we talking about really... so hire someone who has lots of friends already because his/her friends won't care?

    YEAH we care.

    YEAH it's dishonest.

    And in the case, I'm thinking of, I don't even think it's the "person's" fault - he's in a bit of dire straits financially so when someone came along with a sweet offer, I can get (like your friend did too, how it happened, flattery can be an amazing thing and anyone can get conned...)

    In my opinion, it's the person/company/band/ who are the problem because they're taking advantage not only of that person's good will but of his/her friends good will.

    The whole thing stinks.

    BUT before I wrap this up, I do want to point to English360 who actually (you mentioned them David Deubelbeiss so want to go back to the clean version I don't have a problem with - the way I think paid tweeting can work -

    Both Cleve and Valentina have personal handles and professional handles and you know when you communicate with them if you're talking to their business persona or their private persona.

    For me this works and I am happy to RT either persona.

    Again, what is dirty to me, is hiring someone to pretend to be someone else.

    July 30, 2010

    Hey DavidD

    - yup - I never used to click the Block+Report4Spam option, but finding myself quite comfortable clicking that box these days.

    We have a choice, we can let Twitter and Facebook turn into our plagued and spam riddled Yahoo! Hotmail accounts or we can say right off the bat - get lost, cowboys!

  • Unknown says:
    July 30, 2010

    I agree with what has been said, and it makes me uncomfortable too. As I am fairly new to twitter I wasn't familiar with this technique and found that I was being targetted by people who were trying to influence me. Thanks for highlighting this


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