Someone recently asked me if you can make money on Twitter (or Facebook).
At first, I shot back, "only indirectly, by developing a following that drives personal brand awareness." In other words, your Tweets (or status updates on Facebook) keep you top of mind with your social network, and sometimes you add value through your comments. In the long run, that's goodness and makes it all worthwhile.
Recently, though, I've noticed Tweets and updates with short URLs at the end. In many cases, I click on them to find reference web pages related to the update. Nice. I started to do it recently, to tout a video I'm watching or a provocative article I'm reading online.
This sets the stage for referral income. If you like a CD or book, and have an Amazon or BN.com associates account, you can make money with your updates. Here's an example: Login to your Amazon Associates account and click on the Links & Banners tab to get to the Product Link lookup page. Lookup the last great book you've read. Copy the link, it has a reference your account. Go to TinyURL and convert the link you got from Amazon Associates into a Tiny URL (no pun intended). Now it's small enough to fit in an update, leaving room for the rest of your message.
Now post an update ("I'm reading Gladwell's new book, Outliers, and it rocks!") and then cut an paste the TINY URL (all of it) into the end of your update. Now, all your friends and followers have a recommendation, and a clickable link to the Amazon page where they can buy it. If they do, you'll receive a commission on that sale — plus anything else they buy in that shopping spree!
Finally, if you don't want to earn money for yourself, you can raise money for a cause by lending your updates. Same process: Find a cause you want to promote, locate the donate money/join web page, reduce it to a Tiny URL and update!
In either scenario, it's easy to see how our updates will be fungible and valuable in the future. I predict that we'll even move the stock market via updates (eg., getting ready to buy 10000 shares of HAST, join me here…). So don't write off Twitter or Facebook as a 'waste of time'. We are just getting started!
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