Once more, customer are not targets. This week Twitter announced on its blogthat it is experimenting with ways to make ads on your home page more relevant. They will display “Promoted Tweets” from brands in which you’ve shown a prior interest. The language they use is very non-intrusive, CRM-speak a la Twitter is doing its users a favor. They even note right away that you can easily opt out. There’s nothing new here. We’re accustomed to ads matching keywords and interests on social sites. Most important, they stay afield from using the word “target.” That’s not so, however, for the press coverage.
For example, Adweek reports, “Twitter Debuts Ad Targeting, Based on Email Addresses and Cookies.” Christopher Heine’s balanced article that follows discusses both the marketing potential and the privacy concerns backlash. But it also raises a bigger question: What is the boundary between helpful customer relations and unpleasant intrusiveness that reduces human beings with a myriad of choices to their web histories? Are we to be pleased or frightened with greater accuracy that matches our tastes?