Bill Gates is on Twitter. Yes, the real Bill Gates. Not too long after President Obama gave in and started tweeting, the man behind Microsoft is also right behind Obama in finally taking part in this microblogging phenomenon. We’re not too sure what Gates will be tweeting about, but we’re pretty positive it will be politically correct. We’re also not too sure if people will care about Gates joining Twitter, but they sure rolled out the red carpet for the billionaire philanthropist to join their site.
Bill Gates joins twitter @BillGates!
Gates has a verified account, which means that Twitter has validated Gates’ account as the real deal. With so many fake celebrity Twitter profiles out there, Twitter would hate for the masses to be confused about which Bill Gates profile to follow. Though still in private beta, the Verified Accounts feature from Twitter is a somewhat controversial way of appealing to certain Twitter users.
Some argue that such validated accounts are unfair to those that cannot participate in the private beta. Others fear that once Twitter makes the feature live, the process for having an account become verified will be too difficult to apply to all the legitimate Twitter profiles out there.
Twitter wasn’t the only one to validate Gates’ joining of Twitter. Celebrity Twitter “Ambassador” Ashton Kutcher himself also welcomed Gates to the Twitter community. Gates responded with a thank you message to the fellow celebrity, noting that he still had a lot to learn about using Twitter.
Whether or not Gates is the actual person behind each tweet isn’t nearly as important as it is for Twitter to keep its celebrity users happy as pie. Little publicity opps such as the one just mentioned draws a great deal of attention to Twitter as a service. Millions follow celebrity Twitter users just to hear what they have to say. Getting a chance to listen in on conversations celebrities have with each other is a constant popularity contest, and we’re all waiting for some drama to go down.
Is Twitter hoping to continue down this path as part of its business model? Having indirect celebrity endorsements for Twitter as a service means that users will continue to follow the famous Twitter users. Leveraging this type of activity could be in the best interest of Twitter. Then again, it could take Twitter down the path of sell-outs, which could be a place of no return.
Cashing in on that kind of marketing would be a slippery slope for Twitter if incorporated into some kind of monetization method. While Twitter is certainly creating features that make it easier to attract and retain high profile users, the business aspect of turning Twitter into a publicity machine is unlikely to become part of the company’s repertoire.