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Twitter Holiday Gift Guide
Your favorite social network has yuletide surprises in store.
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Welcome to People vs Algorithms #53.
I look for patterns in media, business and culture. My POV is informed by 30 years of leadership in media and advertising businesses, most recently as global President of Hearst Magazines, one of the largest publishers in the world.
This week on the podcast: People vs Platforms
In a continuation of our year end series, we consider what the 2023 will hold for the major media platforms. Out Saturday. Listen here.
A Holiday wish for Elon
At PvA try to be open-minded about unconventional, non-obvious business strategies. We like to look at problems from a multitude of perspectives and attempt to see what others do not. We recognize that we may not comprehend the complex, political, multi-step transformation at Twitter, and will be delighted if this project you have embarked on does resolve successfully. We will graciously admit to missing the things that you could more clearly see.
If your gambit works, it will truly be a business story for the ages.
We do understand that attention is both addictive and a path to power. As my co-conspirator, Brian Morrissey quipped today: “Attention is the point, and I do not believe this is just garden-variety narcissism. Attention is the path to power in our current political economy, particularly when married with vast pools of capital.” Trump, Rogan, Kanye all travelled this path, for better, and often, worse.
But you are different.
Or are you? We are concerned too many decisions are being made impulsively, and with malice, perhaps driven by some deep-rooted childhood trauma. We are only guessing. No one here wants to watch your hard earned reputation and $44B go up in flames.
Surely there’s time to course correct, all is definitely not lost at Twitter. But it’s getting dicey. Remember, platforms demand a delicate balance of constituencies—this thing is the opposite of a car factory.
Perhaps it’s time to take your foot off the emotional accelerator and hand the wheel to someone else. Or at least just take a moment to reflect.
The Holidays are a good time for this. It is our hope that you find time for a breather. Roll up the sleeping bag and leave HQ, spend some time with the kids and chill a little. Enjoy this time like a rich dude ought to. Come back fresh in the New Year. Have you considered picking up kiteboarding or polo?
We wish you and family a happy and restful Holiday season. Here’s to a less chaotic ‘23.
I wanted to pull something positive out of all this so I turned to Twitter to put together a list of the most giftable Holiday schwag. And, I decided to pull them from the Twitter ad flow. After all, uncovering what’s promoted on any media property is a good way to understand what’s going on inside the system. Admittedly, Twitter has always been the weakest ad offering in the social net pack, lacking the data scale and fidelity of Google or Facebook, the lifestyle context of Instagram, the attention spectrum of TikTok or Youtube. With ad demand depressed from big brands advertisers who naively believe context still matters on the internet, I was curious to see where the action was coming from.
For the past few days, I’ve kept a little tally of the ads that popped into my feed and I’ve selected some of the better ones for my gift selection. I would characterize the collection as decidedly late-night TV—novel, high-margin products with quirky, scroll-stopping features.
Advertisers are opportunistic, somebody will always fill the gaps when there’s an audience to reach, as this list clearly reveals. Who’s selling this stuff? Unclear, but we don’t advise getting any of these great products near the mouth of an unsupervised child.
Want more ideas? Head to your Twitter feed and check the ad spots after the second and sixth tweets. There’s plenty more to browse if you keep your eyes open.
So, I present to you, my Twitter 2023 holiday gift guide, a discriminating collection of 21 novelties straight from the ad feed. I hope you find something unusual and captivating for the people you love.
Get those kids off the iPad. Perfect for safe parent / child interactions.
More resilient than a stupid normal drone. Bounces off grandpa!
Choochoo! Get a second so they don’t fight over this one.
Crunchy magnets. Satisfying, stress-relieving clicky noises. 70 shapes, 1 cube.
A great starter kit for your budding paleontologist.
Promotes intergenerational understanding. Doubles as Covid protection. Try the tongue tic tac toe!
Win at head games!
Your golf sucking is about to end.
Doubles as a hash pipe!
Looks cool cause it works. Reaches hard-to-reach places.
See inside of everything! Plugs right into your iPhone or Android. Clean after use.
You used to hate shredding chicken. Now shred like you’ve never shredded. Keep the juice in the meat! Easy clean up with non-stick base.
No time to cry.
Look ma, laser hands! This is seriously great. Buy immediately.
Literally fix anything. Doubles as a pendant.
Stops the most annoying thing in the world from happening. Never, ever will the phone slip in the seat crack again.
The safe way to hallucinate.
Sits right on the counter. Fills your house with glorious baking aroma. Keeps the kitchen warm. Potato skins welcome. A helpful timer lets you know when your creation is complete.
We’re Twitter besties, let’s be soulmates.
When a migraine attacks, you need to move fast.
Ass kicking in your pocket.
Finally… if these items don’t hit the spot for someone on your list, there’s still time to get your digital, NFT Trump card thing.
In a hundred years, these are going to be treasured collector’s items. Future generations will marvel at how the fuck this guy was ever elected president.
Enjoy your weekend…/ Troy