A Tweet Is The New Dollar

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A Tweet is the New Dollar

Back in the day,  we used to say that cash was king. That’s the thinking that led me to my dream of mastering my personal finances. But I’m starting to wonder if cash has been toppled by Tweets, of all things.

Have you guys heard of Pay With A Tweet? This is a newish service where you can sign up to “sell” a product in return for a Tweet.

The people who founded Pay With A Tweet stumbled over the idea when they wrote a book on how traditional advertising executives could catch up with modern social media marketing and advertising techniques. Instead of selling the book for dollars through traditional channels, they decided to see if they could help it go viral by selling it for a Tweet.

Astoundingly, within just a few days their server crashed twice due to the high volume of people taking them up on the offer. Shortly thereafter, the book was the third most trending topic on Twitter worldwide. In the course of a year or so, they’ve “sold” 170,000 copies of their book.

Why, just today, when I found out about this story, I bought a copy myself, and paid with a Tweet. Then I signed up for Pay With a Tweet and have already started writing my product to sell.

A year ago, if I’d heard about someone selling their work for a Tweet, I would have thought it foolish. You can’t buy groceries with Tweets, can you? Will the bank take Tweets for the mortgage payment? Is the car going to run on a steady diet of Tweets in place of gas? I simply would not have gotten it.

Today I get it. A Tweet is actually more valuable than a dollar, because it’s a personal endorsement.

Let us just pause to let that sink in. A 140-character Tweet has more value than a dollar. Can you imagine?

Think about it. Handing over a dollar for a pack of gum, for example,  is a fairly mindless exchange. There’s not a lot riding on it for either the buyer or the seller.

For the buyer, if the gum is stale, or the flavor is icky, so be it – suffer a moment’s aggravation and chuck it in the nearest trash can. Chalk it up as a brand you won’t buy again. There are at least a hundred others from which to choose.

For the seller, every buyer is just a sale. There’s no face or name or preference attached. Sales volume is more important than the individual sale.

But imagine if Wrigley’s tells you they’ll give you a pack of gum if you Tweet your friends about it.

Suddenly, you, the buyer, start to think about whether you like it enough to recommend it. The exchange becomes significantly more mindful. Now YOUR reputation is riding on it. You are, in effect, becoming a partner with Wrigley’s. That’s way more valuable than a dollar.

At the same time, Wrigley’s, the seller,  has to be more mindful about how to make you happy. They’re going to start wondering what flavors you’d like, and if you want one of those peculiar juice-squirting gums, or a shape-shifting gum that morphs from mint to strawberry and back again, or a vintage gum like Black Jack, or whatever. Every individual sale is critical because that’s what creates the word of mouth, and word of mouth creates the volume.

The upshot? There’s much more relationship riding on paying with a Tweet than there is on paying with a dollar. Pay with a dollar and you’re one of a mass of faceless consumers. Pay with a Tweet and you’re an advocate.

Here’s something else. I’ll bet that we’ll be careful buyers when we pay with Tweets, because our personal reputations are at stake.

No one’s reputation is limitless.

Remember when your parents used to tell you that to keep you from hanging out with the trashy kids in detention hall? They were right. Hang out with the trashy kids long enough, and you start looking trashy yourself. Similarly, steer enough people wrong on chewing gum enough times, and they’ll start thinking you’re just selling your soul for a stick of gum. They’ll stop taking you seriously. They might even unfriend you.

That’s when you run out of Tweet power. And running out of Tweet power could almost be worse than running out of cash. Cash can be replenished. Reputation, not so much.

By now you’ve realized the exchange of goods for endorsement is not a new thing. What’s different is that it used to be restricted to celebrities.

  • Catherine Zeta Jones and T-Mobile. (Wow, if it looks that good on her, imagine what it will do for me!)
  • James Beard and Pillsbury canned biscuits. (Hey, if a famous cookbook author is using the Dough Boy, then what am I doing cutting butter into flour?)
  • 49ers football coach Bill Walsh and laser eye surgery. (Check out that piercing blue gaze. Can I get that with laser surgery?)

In the new economy, celebrities are not the influencers. Regular people like us are the influencers. We matter, and our opinions matter.

What a concept. I may need to shift my dream from mastering my personal finances to mastering my personal influence.

How about you, World of Dreamers? Does your personal influence buy you anything?


Jayne Speich is a small business coach/consultant who writes, thinks, and coaches extensively on customer service, business finance, and ways to thrive in the new economy. She has an exciting new business venture with sister dreamer Remy Gervais, called The Gazelle Goal. She is the owner of Onsys21 Dental, a coaching/consulting firm for dental practice owners. Plus, you can find her at theselfreliantentrepreneur.com. Jayne’s post day is Saturday.

  • You would have to have an existing readership of sorts to succeed with this. Your readers have to trust you enough to tweet about your content BEFORE they ever see it. So if your regular content is weak to begin with, you’d have very hard time convincing your readers (surprised you have any, if that’s the case) to share your content UNSEEN.

  • But is your demographic even on Twitter? And will these Tweets interact with your demographic? Is the person you are going to ultimately sell your product to this kind of Twitter user, or are they really on LinkedIn?

    I could see this working for a product like Coke or Pepsi where you get a coupon for a free 12 oz bottle, or for a free app to gain exposure for an upcoming video game — something that appeals to the very young who won’t block the person sending what can be perceived as spam tweets.

    I think Product launches work well when your prospective demographic gets to somehow be involved in the creation of your product so they feel they’ve had a say in the final deliverable. They want to tell all their friends and network because they feel connected to the product.

    The real trick is how do you make your demographic disciples of YOU so that eventually any product you launch is a success (thinking Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki).

    I like Paul Krupin’s take on this in a note he sent to Guy Kawasaki:

    “It would be wonderful to learn how many books sold each channel produced. That might be hard to document. It would be nice knowing how many books sold from the effort in total.

    I don’t attribute your success to the social media. I attribute your success to the fact that YOU are known to produce candy. You have for many years now produced books and all sorts of information that is remarkable. It is intellectual candy, so that when people get a small taste of a new recipe, they instantly want the whole bag.

    You are one of those individuals who will be able to sell anything you offer. You are one of those individuals whose every published word has been worth reading.

    The fact that you used these social media technologies is interesting, but if it were anyone else, it wouldn’t necessarily work. You can make great use of these technologies because you’ve got credibility and the people you want to reach are interested in what you have to say.

    To really work well, the technologies (any publishing technologies, not just the social media) need a message that produces the feeling of want and desire instantly. It has to offer tremendous news, education, or educational value. It has to come from a trusted source. It has to taste like candy.

    Without that candy, nothing will happen no matter what technology is used. With that candy, every technology you use can be a force multiplier.

    The key with everything that you do is that YOU are known to produce candy. And the real lesson to be learned is that if anyone wants to achieve success like you, then they have to produce their own candy first. And it’s not just the product, but it’s also the little and large snippets of communication in all the marcom you offer, that also needs to taste like candy. The messages have to be really good, the content has to be quality and offer tremendous value….”

    You can read his full open note on his blog: Paul Krupin’s Trash Proof Marketing and Publicity Blog.

    I tend to think like Paul. I always want to dig into a marketing/promotion and see what is REALLY happening. Not what appears to be happening. Traffic is just traffic, but if returning readers and engagers are stopping by, then you have the start of something beautiful

    I love your posts. They always offer so much to think and talk about.


  • too much to re think about on a early saturday morning but I guess referrals of many kinds have always been important to me – to give and receive. I cant wait to try Pay with a Tweet – how fantastic. xo Rem