There’s a Right Way and a Wrong Way to Brand on Social Media

Nihilist Arby’s is a Twitter account with nearly 400K followers and, according to itself, absolutely nothing to say. It does, however, provide an interesting lens with which to examine the evolution of advertising and brand identities on Twitter, particularly in light of Lessig’s work on modern sharing economies. In his 2008 work, Remix, Lawrence Lessig puts forth that all economic exchanges are based in either 1) a commercial economy, in that they revolve around something of tangible value, such as money; or they are 2) a sharing economy, in that they are based on something intangible, such as friendship, or a favour. When corporate brands utilize crafted identities on social media sites such as Twitter in order to engage directly with consumers, they are attempting to shift their marketing from a commercial economy—in which advertising mindshare is attained through the purchase of time or space in which to advertise—to a sharing economy—one in which friends, or in this case, followers, will spread the message without being compensated. If you say cool things, your cool friends will repeat those things, right?

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