This is an AWESOME post.. starting with this story:

Alrightie, let’s start with some role playing. And… scene!

I’m friends with Kim. I trust what she’s saying, I think she’s smart.

Suddenly a company approaches her and says “Hey! We have free product for you! We’d love it if you’d talk about it!” So she is excited. She’s her own media channel. She likes their stuff. Now every twentieth tweet is about their product. Great.

Then another company approaches her and says “Hey! We are giving away twenty prizes to our favourite retweeters today! You could be one of them! Bonus points if you get other people retweeting about us as well!” So every thirtieth tweet is about their contest. Great.

Kim is deemed an influencer by a few agencies, so now another company approaches her about their internet services.

Another organization approaches her about their school.

Another company sends her free coffee.

Another company gives her a car for a month.

She gets free rides, free lattes, free magazines, free makeup, free swag at free branded conferences to which she’s been sent on an all-expense paid trip… it’s pretty sweet being Kim these days.

But me? I’m her follower. And all I see is quality content that somehow turned into a horrible neverending ad. Now, I may not stop following her for any variety of reasons or social norms. We’re in a power play, and from a public standpoint, she’s certainly holding the cards.

But I do stop listening. So do lots of people like me.