What Happens When Your Tweet Becomes a Subway Ad
Twitter’s latest branding campaign features tweets from its users. The authors did not get paid, but they did get swag.
One day in early September, San Franciscans stepped off the subway and straight into a sea of Twitter ads. “Twitter is garbage and I am a raccoon,” says a blown-up tweet that currently looms above a stairwell at the Powell Street station downtown. Dozens of other tweets — embiggened and printed onto posters — hang on walls, wrap around poles, and cover the tile floor.
The inescapable ads are part of “Twitter Is,” a new branding campaign that is “meant to further establish the platform as the one place where all people can express themselves in a truly authentic way and to erase any line that exists between what happens on Twitter and what happens in the real world,” according to Forbes. The campaign has transformed more than 100 tweets from regular people into ads and is running concurrently in San Francisco and New York.
Some Bay Area residents have grimly noted the disconnect between Twitter’s whimsical, feel-good ads and its persistent plague of platform abuse. At my subway stop, where police routinely eject homeless people who are looking for a warm place to sleep, one ad proclaims, “Twitter is not just an app. It’s a home for us.” The company also stenciled tweets onto the sidewalk in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, in violation of the city’s vandalism laws, and later agreed to remove them, reported the San Francisco Examiner.
But according to several people whose tweets were featured in Twitter’s ad campaign, the experience was quite positive. In most cases, Twitter contacted them in a tweet or DM from its Twitter Notify account, which alerts people when their tweets have been used in promotional material.
“We love your Tweet and may want to use it for promotional materials and signage,” the account tweeted at users for this particular campaign. “Let us know ASAP if…