Yesterday I logged onto Twitter and find a little addition to their sidebar. It says ‘Get some Perspective’ and contains a link ‘Watch Hack the Debate‘.
Here’s how it looks.
So I have two reactions to this.
1. How much more politics does Twitter need?
I’m sick of the ‘election bar’ that continues to appear when I visit Twitter. I’ve closed it many times but it continues to appear. I thought perhaps it was just me or at least just a frustration that other Non US Twitter users had seeing that Election promotion – but when I tweeted about it I only had 2-3 out of 50-60 responses that were positive about the election bar (including US Twitter users).
WIth the election bar and now a sidebar link Twitter seems to be moving away from their ‘what are you doing’ type focus. Sure a lot of the world is ‘doing’ elections but a large number of the world is also sick of them.
I do think that the US election is important but I’d love to see them give us the choice to opt out of this type of ‘promotion’ or at least to know if it’s an ad or not. But maybe that’s just me?
2. Is this a partnership, paid link… or?
My first reaction when seeing the link was that it looked a lot like an advertisement. There’s no marking of it as such but it does seem a little odd to just have an unexplained link to a political site just sitting there on the sidebar of a social media site under one’s stats.
When you look at the ‘source code’ of a twitter page you see that the link is tagged as a ‘promotion’ (click to enlarge the source code):
Interesting…. but what is a promotion?
On the site it links to (Current.com) it says that Current and Twitter have ‘teamed up’ – so it looks like some kind of ‘partnership’ but that doesn’t really explain it fully.
Now I’ve got nothing against Twitter monetizing with advertising, but I’d love for them to disclose whether that is actually an ad or not. If it is – they might want to ‘nofollow’ it or they might just find themselves penalized by Google for trying to game them (or for helping someone else game them at least).
What do you think?
Update – Evan Williams from Twitter has kindly commented below clarifying the situation. You can read his comments here. The most important clarification (in my mind) is that the link is not a paid link at all but a voluntary link. Thanks Evan!