PipesImagine if advertising had been used to monetize the telephone.

“Please listen to this short word from our sponsor before we complete your call.”

“We will reconnect your call after this short message from our sponsor.”

I doubt it would have worked.

My hunch is that the advertising approach to monetization won’t work for social media either. It won’t work for the same reason it wouldn’t work for the telephone. It fucks with the very reason we’re using the tool. If you fuck with that, we won’t use it.

I’m all for monetization. But, please don’t adopt an approach to monetization that ruins our reason for using social media.

4 thoughts on “Monetizing Social Media: What Won’t Work

  1. With Facebook, at least, they have some leeway because of their network effect. Everyone’s already using Facebook, so it’ll take a fair bit of annoyance before people actually switch to other sites; they’d be trading that annoyance for the annoyance of not being able to easily communicate with people they know.

    Also, there’s another form of monetization I commonly encounter, which at least for now is a bigger annoyance to me. Noise. Facebook games where players are encouraged to spam their friends with invites, and clickbait articles on news sites that are written with the goal of being spread, accuracy and information content being lesser concerns than getting as many eyeballs as possible for their advertisers.

    To its credit, Facebook allows blocking messages from specific sources, so a particular game or news site can only bother me once. And I can’t reasonably expect Facebook to be able to do anything about bad articles. They’d need to be able to write an algorithm that could reliably determine what information a site contains, how accurate that information is, and whether or not a particular person would want that information. A program smart enough to do that would probably be ruling the world by now, and that’s obviously Google’s ultimate goal, not Facebook’s.

    On a slightly related note, have you tried Social Fixer? It’s a browser add-on I’ve been using that fixes some aggravations with Facebook, most notably having to scroll past things I’ve already read.

    1. Hi Chris,

      Thanks for reading and your thoughtful reply.

      I agree. Facebook has a lot of leeway. They’ve also been known to adapt, so they might test this approach, see that it won’t work, and then adapt.

      The big problem, despite that leeway, is that they are interfering with my ability to communicate with other people. I may be strange, but I like seeing out-of-left field posts from people I used to know or barely know and FB’s algorithm has been making room in my stream for paid advertising by taking out those kinds of posts (among others). I also built up a number of FB pages and those posts now reach almost no one, unless one pays for the privilege.

      At any rate, my own experience with and assessment of Facebook mirrors the story told here.
      It’s worth a read if you like thinking about this stuff. http://lnkd.in/djTzvcy

      Thanks for the tip about Social Fixer. I will check it out.

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