The Starcom Invasion of the Twittersphere

There was a news break from the FT on Monday which reported “Starcom Mediavest Group has signed a huge advertising deal with Twitter” representing hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue over multiple years for the tech company.

Wisely, Twitter and Starcom declined to discuss the financial details of the agreement. According to the FT, it includes special perks for SMG when buying ads on Twitter and leveraging the tech platform’s data for its clients like Procter & Gamble, Walmart, Microsoft and Coca-Cola.

Do they care or wonder what Twitter users feel about this level of manipulation?

For those who enjoy Twitter, many are motivated by owning and sharing their story and ideas in the freewheeling universe. As various pop psychologists have posited, the instant gratification of these platforms is so great that it is having an impact on some users ability to connect outside the space.

We are becoming psychologically, emotionally and cognitively hardwired for connection.

Connection, along with love and belonging, is why there is an addiction to the medium. I spoke to a friend who is a Twitter obsessive: he told me it gave him purpose, and meaning in his life. It is taking the place, in certain and perhaps even many cases, of a life philosophy, or a religion.

To extract its true worth, smart operators will engage with Twitter on its own terms: understanding the need for dialogue, ingenuity and creativity to fully harness its power. Subtle tactics are quintessential when integrating  the medium. Unfortunately, boomers steam in bent on its exploitation.

I am frustrated by the colourless chatter assessing and comparing the trends in PR and social media. In fact it’s so self-defeating when the conversation gears toward  comparing disciplines with a metric of old boomer influenced media. The ideas produced by the marriages of new and old media agencies  to reach younger communities are unobtainable media driven visions of perfection. Let’s hold up the reality against the fictional account of perceived success, originated to win awards and mega festivals like the Cannes Lions.

I am wary of nostalgia, it is a dangerous form of comparison. Think about how often we compare our lives and working existence  to a bleary memory that our sepia tinted view of the past has so completely edited that it bears almost no relation to the truth.

Consider this: the moment advertisers try to take ownership of a new medium its decline is assured.  The real influencers get clever and begin searching for the next trend. Applying the old rules and methodology of communications to the new world of parallel influence only expedites the irrelevance of marketers. Scrutinising  the news about the perceived success that global brands and their agencies are having in Facebook and Twitter: clever positioning of exploitative ideas is just an attempt to garner awards. Nonetheless the smart money is invested in a contemporary medium to capture and bewitch the mavens.

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