Twitter, Google, FOX & MSNBC Killed Payola

Dennis Ryan, Chicago Advertising, Element 79Yesterday, Twitter released their year-end ranking of top trends, with an overall ranking plus separate lists for News Events, People, Movies, Sports, Technology, Television, World Cup and Hashtags.  From a pop culture/sociology perspective, it all makes for rather interesting perusal.

However, as a number of news sources point out, in the movies ranking, “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” ranks as #3.  And yet, this Michael Cera film was far from a box office sensation, earning a total of $31.5 million despite a production budget of $60 million.  In other words, it  bombed.

Yet there it sits at #3.  Why?  Because “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”, much like Twitter’s #4 ranking “Despicable Me” was a ‘promoted’ trend.  The studio invested in Twitter as a media partner, leveraging the microblogging sites word of mouth audience reach, much like the #1 top trending Television show, the MTV Video Music Awards.

Much like the competitor’s outcry this past weekend over Google’s purported favoritism in what is positioned as their organic search results, this kind of blatant advertiser influence further pushes any attempt at editorial neutrality further and further into irrelevancy.  In a world where we pick our news organizations based on their clearly expressed editorial viewpoints, this kind of incremental subjectivity doesn’t come as any scandalous surprise but still, it strips another veneer of at least attempted objectivity from our culture.

And slaps it on a Top Ten list.  Apparently in a culture war, shame dies first…


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79


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