Weirdos Sabotage Twitter Promotions While the WSJ Watches

We all work in social media, so this may strike some as an odd question, but we’ll ask it anyway: don’t you just hate promoted tweets?

If you answered “No, I love them; they provide essential information on goods and services that I may or may not purchase,” then you must work in marketing. If you answered, “They are kind of annoying, aren’t they,” then you’re…everybody else.

Twitter has obviously become a key promotional platform in the past couple of years, but it wasn’t always this way—and some longtime users aren’t too happy about it. In fact, as The Wall Street Journal puts it, these young ruffians are all about “subvert[ing] the corporate vibe.” Twitter spokesman Jim Prosser called it “the eternal battle people have over hipsterdom.”


We never joined the “weird Twitter” club (sue us), which for the most part is all about making strange jokes rather than assaulting brands. But we do know that some comedy professionals use promo tweets as a platform for jokes, because duh:

Here’s something you might not know: Twitter charges for these promos on a CPE, or cost per engagement, basis, so brands have to pay every time someone retweets or replies to the message. The company claims to use metrics to distribute these tweets to targeted audiences and avoid charging brands for mocking or obscene replies, but that’s a lot of work. So a few smartasses with time on their hands try to screw up the process.

We think Staples might find some value in Rob Delaney‘s tweet: the brand has 250,000 followers while he has nearly a million. Many “weird Twitter” saboteurs are, by their own admission, “juvenile,” but his message is harmless…in this case. Fellow comedian Neil Hamburger, on the other hand, takes some strange pleasure in mocking brands and retweeting “Taco Bell made me sick” messages.

Our question: is there any way brands can use this trend to their advantage? Should they be good sports and interact with some of the friendlier jokers, or should they ignore these guys altogether?