Twitter and American Express develop ‘pay by tweet’ system

Other social networks including Facebook could also generate extra revenue as users pay for products online

Twitter and American Express say they are working on a “pay by tweet” system that would let accredited users pay for real or virtual items via the microblogging service.

That could also generate an extra lucrative source of revenue for Twitter, which has recently hiked prices on its “promoted trend” service as it looks towards a potential flotation in 2014.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the new service with Amex would let people who link their cards to their Twitter accounts buy products simply by tweeting in response to special offers made over the service.

That could generate a chunk of payments for Twitter if it takes a slice of those purchases. But the service, with more than 200 million users worldwide, is also beginning to ratchet up prices for reaching users: last week it raised the price of a “promoted trend” – visible to many users as they look to see what topics are generating the most interest – to $200,000 per day.

Twitter generated an estimated $350m in revenues in 2012, and its growth and increasing interest among advertisers seeking to place promoted tweets and trends could double that in 2013.

American Express is creating similar card connection systems to work with Facebook, Microsoft’s Xbox Live service and the location-based service FourSquare. “Hundreds of thousands” of people have connected their cards to those services, it said: in those, a card could be used to buy virtual goods through Facebook apps, or games and films on the Xbox Live service.

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Rebellious HMV tweets are in a fine tradition | Richard Seymour

The retailer’s Twitter account went rogue. It’s always good to see workers take some control back over their fate

As the triple-dip recession hits, major stores have embarked on a jobs massacre. Jessops, Blockbuster and HMV have collapsed, placing thousands of jobs at risk. Having nothing to lose but their high street chains, HMV workers in Limerick responded by occupying a number of stores.

Today, as more HMV workers faced the sack, the company’s Twitter account was taken over by an angry employee. “There are over 60 of us being fired at once!”, one of the tweets said, although a total of 190 redundancies have been confirmed. “Mass execution of loyal workers who love the brand.” One hopes the workers have learned this much at least: loyal workers are always the first to get it.

“Under usual circumstances,” another tweet explained, “we’d never dare do such a thing as this.” But these are not normal circumstances, so “what have we to lose?”

Shortly before the tweets got deleted, the account was updated one last time: “Just overheard our Marketing Director (he’s staying, folks) ask ‘How do I shut down Twitter?'” Another lesson here: the cluelessness of management can always be used against them.

These scattered rebellions by HMV workers stand in a venerable tradition. When workers were threatened with redundancy at Republic Windows and Doors in Chicago, workers occupied and won a series of demands. When Ford Visteon workers were unceremoniously sacked, they occupied production plants and called for solidarity.

What these examples have in common is that they involve groups of workers taking some control over their fate. We treat “the market” as if it was some impersonal god, rather than simply the effect of human behaviour. It feels as if we have no way out. Taking control means defying the logic of “the market”. And this, in germinal form, constitutes the reappearance of an older tradition of workers’ militancy, from factory councils in Turin in 1919 to the Recuperados in Argentina in 2001.

In recent years, Occupy raised similar questions about how we can take control of our fate, forming “liberated” spaces for democratic discussion and planning activism. But what Occupy couldn’t successfully do was take control of the means by which real power is exerted. This is something that workers occupying factories, stores and even Twitter accounts have done first-hand. They are right to do so, and shouldn’t stop at protest and rebellion. In the best tradition of the labour movement, they should say “we don’t want just a bigger slice of the cake; we want the whole fucking bakery”.

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Is Vine video a fine idea?

We’ve filmed some six-second videos of our office, and we want to see yours. What do you make of the latest Twitter feature?

What is new technology for if not to provide a distraction from work? Twitter’s Vine app allows you to film and share up to six seconds of video in tweets without any faffing around. It’s not long, but is enough to show people how busy your train is, how much it’s snowing outside, or even how to make steak tartare.

Have you had a go with it yet? My colleague Hannah Waldram tested it with a trip to the tea point (luckily she ran out of time before she was able to reveal the colour of the “tea” that comes out of our machines).

Testing out Vine: @guardian tea break #firstpost vine.co/v/b5HMA9Aee1j

— Hannah RW (@hrwaldram) January 24, 2013

She’s now put together a quick tour of the office:

.@guardian HQ hard at work – #Vine testing vine.co/v/b5t2z6ALXLu

— Hannah RW (@hrwaldram) January 25, 2013

Hannah was impressed with the design and ease of Vine. “With Tumblr reigniting the popularity of the retro animated gif, I have no doubt many will enjoy creating and sharing unique titbits of video,” she says.

“It’s an extension of twitpic and twitvid, which have been popular, and similar to other short-animation apps in vogue at the moment like Cinemagram and 1 second every day.”

My own efforts were less successful. I liked using it, but my efforts to share videos fell at an early hurdle – I failed to tick that I wanted to tweet the video as I uploaded it and can’t work out how to do so retrospectively. Does anyone know if that’s possible? (If it isn’t, you’ll have to visit Vine to enjoy the view from my desk.) And six seconds seemed far too short for anything much.

If you’ve got a spare six seconds today, and an iPhone (annoyingly it’s not yet on Android) perhaps you could do the same – show us your workplace and let us know what you think of Vine. Can you imagine this being something genuinely useful, or are you dreading having to see more of your friends’ cats?

Tweet your workplace films to @guardianmoney. If you’ve already got the hang of it and fancy winning some CDs, or sharing more artistic creations than an office panorama, my colleagues on other desks would like to hear from you.

Your Vines

@daveharte has shared this film he made yesterday of something we are probably all looking forward to:

Home time vine.co/v/b5HX9YbJ9F3

— Dave Harte (@daveharte) January 24, 2013

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