Stop Whining: Ads in Twitter Are Awesome

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Twitter, at long last, put ads in its stream today. Predictably, people are angry! But that's just dumb. It's good for Twitter, and it's good for you.

The basic idea is that short form ads, which it calls Promoted Tweets, will now appear in your timeline. They'll only appear from companies you follow. So, for example, if you follow Virgin America, you may see one of its Promoted Tweets. If you don't, you won't. You can banish them with just a click. It's quite smart and unobtrusive.

Which hasn't stopped a lot of reactions from people who are threatening to quit or wondering if this will be the end of Twitter.


Nonsense! Nonsense and poppycock.

The only thing that kind of sucks about ads in Twitter is that they haven't been there since the get go. Twitter should have introduced ads back in 2008, before it totally tipped but after it was apparent that it was going to be a media force. The only reason people are resistant to timeline ads is because they are new.


There is an ad on this page. (I hope!) It's why you can read my words. Ads are good. Ads are why stuff on the Internet is free. If services can't make money from ads, they have to charge for it. Ads in the Twitter stream ensure that the service will continue to thrive. They ensure that you'll be able to keep using it.


Some pundits have argued that ads will disrupt the conversation, or otherwise break Twitter's flow. Have these people actually used Twitter? It's not a give and take, in which conversations flow along in a logical manner. It's more like a room full of people shouting random phrases, some of whom you choose to pay attention to. Twitter is built on non sequiturs. It's all din and spectacle.

If you're revolting against Twitter's ads, or revolted by them, it's really, really easy to stop using Twitter.


Hey, check it: it's Identica. Identica is just like Twitter except its open source and more awful and there will never, ever be ads on it. Have fun.

You can keep up with Mat Honan, the author of this post, on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+.