Trend Alert: Tweetdecking

Trend Alert introduces you to the latest brands, products and services that are trending with 16-24s.

You may have heard of the Instagram pod phenomenon, which was covered by Mashable, Elle and others in 2017. On Twitter, the concept has taken a new form, as recently exposed by Buzzfeed. Savvy young users are not just working together to promote each other’s content, but to covertly make money from their influence and reach.

The name Tweetdecking comes from the fact that these groups are using the Twitter-owned web app Tweetdeck. The app enables an account owner to allow others access to their account, without sharing their login details. Like an Instagram pod, deck members help each other’s accounts grow through mutual retweeting and liking. They also take payment from brands and individuals who want to amplify a particular tweet. According to Buzzfeed’s report, a single retweet costs $5 to $10, while temporary access to the deck and all its member accounts for unlimited retweets can be bought for hundreds of dollars. As such, successful decks can generate thousands of dollars per month.

As this whole operation is hidden from public view, other Twitter users have no idea that these retweets are financially compensated. There is no ‘promoted’ label, as you would see on any tweet boosted via Twitter’s advertising platform. There is no #spon or #ad added to the tweet, as required from influencers and celebrities posting sponsored content. Tweetdeckers are working outside the system, bypassing influencer agencies and social platform owners. The practice of selling retweets actually contravenes Twitter’s spam policy.

The tweetdecking trend reflects the entrepreneurial mindset of young digital natives, and the changing power dynamics as online influence becomes a new kind of currency. Growing a large Twitter following doesn’t require education or financial investment - it’s accessible to anyone with a natural understanding of the internet and an instinct for viral content. Teenagers, students and young adults who are money poor but time rich are able to achieve this around their studies and work, gaining a welcome side income and skills that could open up new career opportunities.


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