Will Twitter for money

I was more than a bit bemused to stumble upon this post discussing Andrew Baron‘s attempt to sell his Twitter account ‘and followers’ on eBay.  Although Baron is still the proud owner of his account after ending the auction early (now that wouldn’t have been a publicity stunt, would it?), bidding had reached a tidy $465 as Boyd was writing.  He also inspired one innovative entrepreneur to apparently net himself a similarly neat $375 by selling his phone number on the auction site.  If only it had been 867-5309, perhaps Baron would have bought it and the circle of Web 2.0 life would have been complete…

This does raise some interesting questions though.  As Boyd says, it seems more like a playful thought experiment than something that ‘shed[s] any light on the issues of identity and reputation in any real world fashion’, but some commenters on his post seem genuinely offended by the notion that ‘followers’ can be sold, likening it to selling your friends’ email addresses to the highest bidding spam advertiser.  Personally, I’m inclined to agree with Baron’s comment that Twitter ‘is not the place to get personal… networks are different’, and to be honest I feel pretty guilt-free about unfollowing people whose tweets I decide (link may offend) I don’t want to read

This experiment also highlights the implications of relationships underlying the debated issue of Twitter reciprocation etiquette (or twitiquette – I guess someone had to do it).  Baron appears to follow almost all of his over 2,300 followers, while Boyd has a thousand more followers but follows less than 700.  Baron is a performer perhaps relating to his followers as to an audience, whereas the majority of Boyd’s updates are @comments that are part of a series of dialogues with individuals.  Just as the thoughtful and extremely persuasive comments to my post on Twittering at conferences illustrate, there are as many different ways of using and relating to such technologies as there are people to use and relate to them. 

One thought on “Will Twitter for money

  1. Pingback: Rowin’s blog » Will tweet for money (revisited)

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