by Brian Solis
OK, as if we didn’t have enough to talk about this weekend, Andrew Baron, founder of Rocketboom, decided to shake things up by putting his Twitter account up for auction on ebay including his 1,573 friends, well 1,574 including me.
Here’s his tweet.
First, there was Hugh MacLeod’s sudden departure from Twitter and now this? FWIW, I believe Hugh will be back when he’s ready. But there is a sense of responsibility for sharing relevant and interesting updates, which culminates in a form of pressure and induces deadline-oriented participation.
Perhaps this is merely a publicity stunt as Duncan Riley of TechCrunch points out. But what’s even more interesting is that this little merry-go-round doesn’t necessarily violate Twitter’s TOS.
Here’s Andrew’s rationale:
I really love my Twitter account but I feel like I haven’t been using it the way I want to. Quite honestly, I feel sorry for all of my followers because they wind up with my tweets in their timelines and I haven’t been able to utilize the medium the way I want to. I also participate in another Twitter account over on Rocketboom so I’m thinking I’ll post more over there and start up a new account to do what I want to do next.
It would be silly to just delete this account I have here, especially if there is someone out there that had like interests and had something to say or wanted to get involved in some relevant conversations. In terms of monetary value, I have no expectations or needs at all so I decided not to put a minimum bid on this. Whatever will be, will be.
The winner of this auction gets my account with all of my followers. The account is in my name now, but the winner of the auction can pick any other name that’s available on Twitter for the transfer. For example, you could have http://www.twitter.com/x where x=any name thats not already taken. You can change it yourself at anytime too, one of the cool features about Twitter settings.
So basically it’s like getting a new account with your own name, but having a pre-installed audience.
The first sign of value to most people would be the number of followers I have (the audience size). At the beg. of this auction, there are 1397 followers and I am actually quite proud of the actual quality of these followers, moreso than the number. Feel free to explore everyone to see who’s there.
Also, as with any dynamic group, there is obviously risk. My followers could jump ship at anytime. There is no guarantee on this part. People will come and go, thats just the way it is. Whether you represent a company, a group or just yourself, this group will not want to be sold to, Im sure. The successful winner will share a reciprocal value with the followers.
First, this is has to be complete and utter BS. To think that an audience is for sale is absurd. This is the era of the Social Web and relationships, I would hope, are not for sale. But, I’m scratching my head on this one. April Fools Day was earlier this month, so is Andrew by chance, conducting a social experiment? He already has the Rocketboom account and has eluded to creating something new. Perhaps Andrew can email me or comment and let me know what’s really going on here. Mr. Baron is smart, entrepreneurial, and resourceful. I believe he knows what he’s doing. But as Stowe Boyd points out, it it is essentially meaningless.
Relationships are personal. Regardless of what everyone says in the “bitchmeme” or Techmeme, it is unequivocally indisputable. Communities are not, and should not, ever be for sale. The investment in cultivating these relationships is priceless, and they are forged through social capital and personal equity. They are irreplaceable.
Yes, it’s incredibly difficult to stay connected – especially via Twitter. But, let’s not confuse this with the value of relationships and the assumption that they are transferable because of a winning bid on ebay.
Can’t buy me love.