This is something that I never thought I’d give a rip about, so it surprises me that I do. Something so global and is in fact so much Newburyport local.
Some full disclosure here. For 3 years I worked as one of then 75,000 (the number has since grown) editors for the “Open Directory Project” or as it is often know as “DMOZ,” the directory owned by Netscape and used by Google. Most of my ever ongoing “training” at DMOZ, was catching people trying to scam the system, as well as adding really good websites to the directory. I was constantly amazed at how many and how often and how sneaky people were. It was a real wakeup call for moi.
And yesterday I watched the CEO and co-founder of Twitter, a very, very smart (vast understatement) and personable gentleman, Evan Williams, talk about his ideal for Twitter. Twitter is also not making any money (yet).
This is who it appears is making money, Social Media Optimizers (SMO)s. From what I can make out in my small amount of research (and yes this is cynical and possibly jaded on my part) the gig was sort of up for the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) folks, when Google wanted relevant content and lots of it. Schmoes like me can rank high for key words that SEO’s used to be able to persuade folks to pay unbelievable amounts of money for.
When I went on Twitter and searched “SEO,” what I saw were lots of “tweets” from SEO’s saying how stupid people were about Twitter, what a sham a company was if they didn’t insist on a SEO firm using Social Media like Twitter, and a certain implication of the large amounts of money to be made off of Twitter ignomaniacs.
What was interesting to me, was that this was not the tone or goal, at least from what I heard, from the co-founder and CEO of good old Twitter. Quite the contrary. He said he thought at this point Twitter, I believe the word was “impossible” to use, the plan was for that to end, and the whole thing was suppose to be fun. The aim did not seem to me to scam people out of large amounts of money.
And the other thing that I sort of read between the lines, that many large companies now almost feel compelled to set up Twitter accounts, even Newspapers, which Mr. Williams, it seemed to me, seemed to be quizzical about.
I’m guessing that it is all those SMO’s out there who used to do SEO that are now scaring their website customers into have things like Twitter accounts, so that, yes, the SMO’s can make tons of money, because most folks are Twitter ignorant, and need to pay someone mucho money to do it for them.
Maybe I will become a Twitter addict, Mr. Williams did say it was addictive and was supposed to be fun. But, I wonder how many Newburyport businesses, in this lousy economy, will feel compelled to pay good money to SMO’s to make sure they stay relevant and solvent.