DMA & IAB Members

Has Social Media Boiled Down to a Personal Advertising Tool?

Has Social Media Boiled Down to a Personal Advertising Tool?

By accepting my friend request, you’re opting in to the Jay Andrews Ad Network.  You are agreeing to view the advertisements that JAAN runs including, but not limited to, event promotion, website/blog promotion, celebrity gossip column promotion, and messages from JAAN’s sponsors.  You may only unsubscribe from this feed by removing Jay Andrews from your friends list.

Isn’t this basically what social media has boiled down to?  When Facebook calls the main page the “News Feed” it is really saying “Stuff your opted-in friends want you to see”.  I, for example, shamelessly publish my blog stories to my news feed in a quest for more readers (and more ad revenue).  I promote my puppy in the Cutest Dog Competition and try to convince friends to vote for her (for my own financial gains).  I organized a college football tailgate event (resulting in a net yield of 68 beers more than I started with).

So really we’re all social media advertisers.  We advertise our businesses and websites, our feelings and interests.  We advertise ourselves in a newspaper classified-type way and through voyeuristic photo albums.  I’m a single male, age 24 looking for friendship, networking, dating, and “whatever I can get”.  Our friends are just the people who are willing to subscribe to our ad feed.  They like me, so they put up with reading my banter… suckers.

My opt-in network is smaller than that of an affiliate marketing company, but I don’t pay anything for my traffic.  My revenue is 100% profit and I can work odd hours.  But where do I cross the line from friendly updates to creepy Facebook pusher?  If I linked an Acai diet offer to my feed, would anyone click on it?  Would anyone purchase it?  Would there be consumer backlash?  My guess is no, no, and probably some quizzical comments on that post.  But if the product is my own, my network of friends will click.  If someone can figure out how to harness that aspect of social media with profitable offers, then they’re on to something!

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