The issue of “astroturfing” and manipulating the seemingly organic nature of the internet has been an of interest of mine since the Iraq war, when the media / culture of the US was orchestrated well enough to convince a vast majority of Americans to enter into a major war over lies.
Up until this point, my paranoia has been mostly politically based. When I see people basically copying and pasting political talking points and using slogans to make arguments, my suspicions are raised as I’m sure they are to most people.
But I’ve often wondered how much of this is going on for businesses and other organizations. While I’ve been seeing firms hanging out their shingles to “manage” “online presences” for both for-profit and non-profit organizations, the big question has been – exactly what is going on?
One answer, in part, has been offered by Michael Arrington, writing in his tech blog Uncrunched, where he reports a message received from a person working for a PR firm under contract with Microsoft. (the image “Hi Michael”, is a crop from the original, which appears on the blog linked to by clicking on that image)
Note the message refers to “a sponsored post opportunity”!
You see, up to this point, when you’ve given NBCNews access to everyone in your Facebook contact list in return for being able to “like” a given news story, you understood what you were getting into.
But now, when you’re reading some local bulletin board and the conversation rolls around to something relating to a business, product, or service, you now have to be wary of exactly WHY the person is writing what they’re posting.
In other words, the posts you’ve been reading on message boards and other social media could be PAID FOR.
At least you’ll know one thing! You’ll always get the truth here at Twinseas.com!