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Your sneaky friends might soon be paid to send you marketing tweets, at least if the companies mentioned in The New York Times have their way.

It would work like this: you're going along your normal business as a RentedSpaces Twitter follower or Facebook fan. Suddenly, you get an advertising message from a trusted friend. And likely, you're annoyed.

Annoyance is a major factor for advertisers to overcome. Why bother, then? Word-of-mouth advertising (WOM) from a trusted source is considered the best form of marketing.

But would advertising to you in your Twitter or Facebook streams really work? Couldn't it really backfire?

Regulators are already zeroing in on blogs to give full disclosure if they are being paid to mention or discuss a product. The ethical problems arise when a site appears to be providing non-biased information but is really designed to push a particular product. Magazines and television must disclose paid advertising programming, for example.

Real estate blogger and social media enthusiast Rob Hahn discusses expectations people have concerning video that may parallel feelings about advertising in our tweeter streams and status updates. Rob points out that we have varying levels of expectation about video based on whether it is produced by a professional or an amateur. The way we identify both are the quality and complexity of the video. We tend to look favorably on the amateur-ish if the intent is genuine.

Likewise, if the advertising tweets and status updates are easily identified between "amateur" and "pro," and we feel the intent is genuine, we might indeed slowly embrace this "last frontier of advertising," to borrow a phrase from The Times. Will we like it? Hard to say, but chances are we'll adapt.

Try this tweet on for starters:

Have rights 2 #buy the #BrooklynBridge for $1. Hurry! Send attn: this author @RentedSpaces.
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