Selling your Twits won't make you rich

This morning the alternative pub SFGate featured companies that broker ad deals between Twitter users and advertisers that pay Twitter users to promote their products.

The return ranges from a few pennies to several thousand dollars per tweet, depending on the twitterer's number of followers or how famous the tweeters are off the Internet

The story reminded me of that old Dire Straits song, Money for Nothing ... The first line of the lyrics is particularly apropos: "Look at them yo-yos, that's the way to do it. ... "

But despite knowing better, I couldn't resist the prospect of riches, so even though I'm a nobody, I joined the throngs rushing over and signing up for and Ad,ly. The deal was similar on both, but MyLikes seemed a little more straightforward.

I filled out the registration form. The site sent me a list of advertisers whose products sort of reflected my interests. I tweeted one product – business cards – I thought I might be persuaded to buy. Now every time someone who is following my tweets clicks on my promotional business card tweet, I'm supposed to get 20 cents.

Several hours and lots of Twitter traffic later, no luck. I've gotten exactly bupkis.

I'm sorry to say, that doesn't surprise me much. Trading pennies for a product recommendation via the mini screen on my cell phone doesn't exactly rival 30 seconds on CBS.

In fact, these deals remind me of my ex-brother-in-law who went bankrupt trying to make a living selling household cleaners through one of those schemes where he made more if he could persuade me to not only buy the stuff but be a seller as well. His non-stop pitching gave me indigestion even before the turkey was served at Thanksgiving, but it wasn't enough to make him solvent.

I used to like Twitter. The idea of keeping up with the routine comings and goings of my friends and family is appealing. But all these promises of fame and fortune are clogging my Twitter account. I got seven new Tweets in the last five minutes, all of them from twitterers trying to sell me something. None of their messages were worth the two seconds it took to read them. Meanwhile, messages I really care about get lost in the crush.

Before Twitter, the word twit used to refer to someone who was insignificant or bothersome. Personally, I'm ready to return to that standard definition.
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