There has always been an uneasy tension between the shared internet and the endless effort to “monetize” sociality. Today, Twitter seems to be challenged by a range of issues — no clear mechanism to police abuse large among them — but the question of how it is to turn a profit is paramount. Maybe in spite of the lack of commercial intent on the early internet, todays social media platforms have generated thousands of new millionaires and several billionaires as well. In many cases the economic models are seen as an afterthought, or related directly to the aggregation of attention.
Is this a community?
Alex Halavais

As someone who works in web design, branding & social media, this is an issue that I regularly experience with clients. When designing a site, it can be a challenge to help business owners understand that what we are creating is not just a collection of nice-looking pages that load quickly on mobile devices, but an experience that is meaningful to the community they are hoping to build around their brand. The same is also — or perhaps especially — true of social media. While it may be tempting to push out ad after ad after ad to your followers, that type of interaction does nothing to engage or provide knowledge to your community of customers. So it’s interesting to me to see a shift in the way that “customers” are identified, wooed, and treated almost as friends within many companies’ social media spaces.

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