Thursday, February 14, 2013

Hashtags are the new credit cards

Yes, you heard me right. As of this past Tuesday, people are now able to purchase things on Twitter without even having to dig into their purses or wallets to get the credit card numbers out. You can thank American Express for this one. 

With the credit card debt many Americans are already facing, this honestly frightens me. People say that they do not realize how much money they are spending when they swipe rather than pay with cash. Thus, one can only imagine the excessive spending that will go on when people can do it from their favorite social media network, Twitter.

Ultimately, this collaboration between Twitter and American Express has turned the social media site into a shopping cart. People who use American Express will be able to create an account and buy certain products by tweeting an appropriate hashtag. The @AmexSync account will then send a confirmation tweet indicating that their purchase was successful.

Ultimately, this idea was actually quite genius of American Express. People will be tweeting the hashtags, which will cause their followers to become curious. American Express hopes that perhaps, people will become so intrigued, that they sign up for an American Express credit card just to be able to buy things on Twitter and participate in what may be the next big thing (or a fleeting fad).

If you are wondering how to join in yourself, all you need to do is link your American Express account with your Twitter account. If you have a protected account, however, you will not be able to participate. Twitter and American Express want all companies to get the recognition they deserve, so protected accounts will not be allowed to utilize the system.

According to the CNN Tech article, the first discounted items that will be available for purchase include an Amazon Kindle Fire, a Sony Action Cam, a Donna Karan-designed bracelet and an XBox360. 

This whole e-commerce and social media collaboration is not necessarily new. Facebook now lets you buy Starbucks gift cards for your friends on their birthdays by placing a convenient link under their picture and indicating that they have linked the chain in the past.

In fact, for Valentine's day, Facebook created a header which encouraged people in relationships to surprise their "valentine" with a special gift. Unless, of course, you're like me and saw this this morning:

Thanks for the friendly reminder, Facebook. Happy Valentine's Day to you, too.

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