According to the experts at snpros.com – “The Social Networking Professionals” – my Twitter account is worth US$83.20 as of five months ago. If you have a Twitter account, I encourage you to do the same – just google your name and it’ll be somewhere down there. Some robot has gone through all of our Twitter accounts, using some algorithm based on the number of tweets and the number of followers to place a monetary value on our social networking. There’s also a list of every person I’ve ever replied to on Twitter. Likewise, a couple of years ago I listed my place of residence on Facebook as Abbottabad, Pakistan. Facebook also said I was single, and it took me a while to realise why I kept getting advertisements popping up for Pakistani dating websites.
Feel creepy? Yes. But it’s also a helpful reminder that, like almost everything, someone has to be making money on this social media stuff. They’re revolutionising the way we communicate, but it also means corporations know more and more about us. And the fact that Twitter loses 35 cents for every user per year means we’re probably going to see vast changes in how the site runs. And they’re not going to be driven by the free expression and broadcast of ideas and information, but by the bottom line.
Using these tools has helped make a journalist’s work much easier, but I feel like we all might be becoming a little too reliant on communication via platforms that are there to make money out of us.