The Micro Persuader On Twitter-like Applications

“If Web 2.0 is like golf, then a blog is a nine iron, while a micro-blog is a putter. It’s all still golf, but bloggers are starting to mix it up, and the course is changing.” -Steve Rubel in Ad Age

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. As I’ve noted time and again, things like Twitter are wonderful tools for teenagers and 20somethings for whom social life is paramount and who actually want to hear that their friends are on their way to the beach.
    I suspect anyone outside that demographic would consider constant Twittering to be a major bother.

  2. Rubel is way outside that demo. As am I.
    Twitter is brand new. People are still figuring out how best to use it. The idea itself though—mobile-enabled microblogging—is pretty big, IMO.

  3. I think he’s sensing that there’s something in the wind, but his three conclusions seem off.
    1. “The demands on our time — be they work, family, passions — are growing. Brevity rules.”
    No, targeting rules. People will pay lots of attention to things that are meaningful to them and engage their personal interests. Once you have their interest, you actually sustain it by offering more content, not less.
    2. “Second, there’s the proliferation of mobile devices, which, through text messaging, encourage people to publish more often but in a far shorter format.”
    …except that every mobile device is straining hard to offer a more desktop-like web experience. For good or ill, the desktop web browser is the reference standard for online information delivery. WAP failed; check out the iPhone or the new Nokias to see the future.
    3. “…we have social networking, which makes it easier for us to tune into “signals,” i.e., people and topics we care about, and block out noise. Content you truly care about finds you.”
    Well, two flaws here. First, “social networking” is suddenly a hugely broad category. You have game spaces, Twitter, Second Life, Facebook, group blogging,, each serving slightly different audiences with their own unique preferences for content and presentation. Saying “social networking” is like saying “cars” and expecting everyone to picture the same Mercedes C350 you have in your head. This is sloppy thinking, and it undermines planning an effective messaging strategy.
    Second, tuning into your preferred content in an increasingly fractured online universe is getting harder, not easier. People will be placing more attention on search engines long before they finally land in a social network. They’re still searching; nothing is “finding them,” and they could wind up anywhere. Better to catch them at the gate than try and figure out where they went once they got inside.

  4. Sorry David. I enjoy reading your blog and some others, but it would bug the crap out of me to have little updates all day long.
    There will be some use found for microblogging, but Twitter ain’t it.
    You and Rubel are the exceptions, not the rules.

  5. It may just be a lot simpler, Rob.
    We call it Your Brand Is Not My Friend™ and the basic theory is that there are places you just don’t want to be advertised to.
    Marketing efforts on most “social networking” arenas winds up being the digital equivalent of those telemarketing calls you get during dinner. And you know, even when they’re for a good cause, your still pissed that they interrupted your dinner.