You've used Twitter to tell the world about your trips to the record store, the extra-spicy burritos at Taco Bell, and the color of your socks. You've even broadcasted your (relatively uninformed) opinions on Buddhism, the rise of the cyber-state, and the importance of tackling nuclear proliferation in the age of global terrorism.
Well, now's your chance to do something productive with Twitter: bankroll some dough.
According to Ad Week, the social media marketing company Izea will soon unveil a program rewarding users for writing about various products or brands. Cash would be doled out on a click-by-click basis – I'm assuming we're talking fractions of a penny for every click – or, for higher-powered Twitterers, a flat fee for every tweet.
Confused? Here's how it might work. Let's say a dog grooming company in New York City has tried – and failed – to promote its services through traditional media. Piggybacking on to the social media zeitgeist, the company's owner decides to hire Izea to do some viral promotion. Izea, in turn, hires you – a random dude, sitting in your mom's living room in Queens – to write about how absolutely beautiful your precious Rover looks this morning.
Don't have a dog? No problem! Just pretend you do.
And for this, you might receive a dollar. Hey, don't laugh. Those dollars can ad up.
As Sarah Perez over at Read Write Web notes, the core concept here is not particularly new. In fact, it's been tried, tested, and proven to be relatively successfully. Izea, which was formerly known as Pay Per Post, is "well-known for paying bloggers to post articles about products," Perez writes. "These 'sponsored conversations' have had big-name advertisers like K-Mart and Sears funding the campaigns as well as big-name bloggers like Chris Brogan and Julia Roy writing paid articles."
Many of these bloggers were totally forthcoming about their activities. Others weren't – a problem that stirred up a mini-firestorm on the web. Now some are worried that the pay-per-click model could "ruin" Twitter, a site which has – until now – kept its hands relatively clean. Here's Mashable's Adam Ostrow:
Ultimately, I think the issue will be less about your Twitter stream getting polluted with ads – because you can control that – and rather, seeing which users are willing to risk their reputation in pursuit of a few dollars. There is clearly demand on both sides – Twitter users with big audiences who want to make money, and advertisers who want to reach Twitter users. Sponsored Tweets probably (and we hope) won’t be the solution that wins out, but expect it to make a lot of noise, very soon.