Why Twitter's Advertising on TV Makes Perfect Sense

For One Thing, It May Represent Twitter's Biggest Endorsement Yet of Social TV

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There's been a lot of coverage of Twitter's first TV spot, which aired during yesterday's broadcast of the 2012 Pocono 400 Nascar race. AllThingsD's Arik Hesseldahl, for example, sees the ad as a sort of siren call to brands: "The hope, apparently, is that advertisers can be convinced to pay for Twitter-hosted pages that automatically aggregate relevant content on a particular subject." And TechCrunch's Ryan Lawler detects a certain retro appeal to this new hashtag-page approach, which he compares to old-school AOL keywords from the early days of the internet, and concludes that "it seems clear that Twitter has built a pretty slick way to curate and repurpose content that is being tweeted out by its users."

But I'll just note that the Nascar spot may be Twitter's biggest endorsement yet of the whole social-TV phenomenon. TV, after all, helped make Twitter. In the early days of Twitter, thousands -- then, over time, hundreds of thousands, then millions -- of people realized that they wanted to use the microblogging service to talk about TV.

There's nothing at all ironic about social-media powerhouse Twitter using good old-fashioned TV advertising to raise its brand awareness, because Twitter would be vastly diminished without its connection to TV (the same is true about Nascar and TV, of course), and Twitter execs know that .

The TV spot also underscores the extent to which Twitter has become the un-Facebook. Consider the fact that Twitter is way more important to the social-TV phenomenon than Facebook because it's an open ecosystem that allows anyone who cares about any given thing on TV -- like what's happening in a Nascar race -- to interact with anybody else on Twitter who also cares about that exact same thing. Facebook more or less silos your conversations to your circle of friends and acquaintances, whereas Twitter encourages you to mix it up with anybody, anywhere.

Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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