Tuesday, May 24, 2011

BREAKING NEWS: Celebrities are shameless and money hungry.

I have just lost all respect for Michael Ian Black just now.

After reading the Poynter article on social media advertising site Ad.ly, I decided to investigate others who had jumped on the sellout bandwagon and the results were not suprising. Most of the celebrities were the ones you’d expect to jump on another chance to monetize their fame. At the top of the list were the Kardashians, Paris Hilton, Charlie Sheen, Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em, Snookie and 50 Cent, who once famously recruited neighborhood children to help him hustle snow out of neighbors’ driveways for $100 a house.

I guess it’s not too surprising that some celebrities would be willing to sacrifice their credibility for a few hundred bucks, but is Ivanka Trump going to do with a few hundred dollars? An even better question: Why is Snoop Dogg, pusher of the Toyota “Swagger Wagon”, listed as a celebrity that reaches parents?

This is depraved. What’s even worse is the way that all these celebrities and opinion leaders try to justify what they’re doing by saying they agree with the ad anyways. I do understand Black’s point that he’s sent out thousand of tweets for nothing and deserves some compensation, but I’m worried that the promise of open communication on the web is once again being squandered by advertising.

Another tweet sponsoring service, fittingly named Sponsored Tweets, requires that its tweeters disclose the source of the tweet to comply with FTC rules. I’m worried about how Ad.ly seems to only disclose the #ad side of their tweets occasionally. That isn’t just unethical, that’s illegal.

For celebrities and media organizations alike I can see the urge to squeeze a few extra bucks out of their tweets. However, social media is a marketing tool already, and there are already ways to monetize a loyal following in place. Placing too many advertisements in the way of your followers will own grow spite. I hope it hurts them in the long run.

-Niklos Salontay

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