Disclaimer: I have been active IEEE volunteer for the past 6 years – 3 years as a student and presently as a professional member. Currently, also an Executive Committee member of IEEE Kerala Section, IEEE Kochi Subsection and IEEE Kerala Young Professionals.
So, this obviously means I am not “anti-IEEE”. The following blog post is written based on my observations. It has nothing to do with whether I am an IEEE volunteer or not. Just the fact that being an active volunteer when I saw this, it did disturb me.
A man’s got to say what a man’s got to say.
IEEE is a not-for-profit organization. Even the footer of its website specifies that. It carries out various educational, technological and humanitarian activities around the globe, which is exactly the reason I have been an ardent volunteer in it all these years. And yes, it has helped me grow professionally too.
Knowing the fact that its a “not-for-profit” organization, today, when I saw a Promoted Tweet by IEEE Xplore, I was mind blown.
For those of you, who aren’t fervid followers of Social Media, here’s why I was astonished –
A promoted tweet usually costs of the range 20 cents – $5 per engagement, with an outlay of minimum $10,000. To put it simpler, every engagement (Follow, Reply, Favorite, ReTweet) of a Promoted Tweet costs of the range INR 12.24 – INR 305.95 (As per today’s Dollar-Rupee Conversion), with a minimum spend of INR 6,11,900\- ($10,000) required to start the Ad Campaign.
Twitter follows a PPF (Pay Per Follow) Model of advertising and hence the rates are determined based on engagement with the tweet.
Now calculate this – IEEE Xplore has 132,619 followers on Twitter (as per today’s numbers). Even if half of them had interacted with the promoted tweet at the least possible Ad rate, the $10,000 would be used up in a day! And that is not counting the fact that promoted tweets are visible to everyone who is targeted – not just direct followers of IEEE Xplore (I don’t follow IEEE Xplore on Twitter).
Basic mathematics plus online user behaviour would definitely suggest a 5 figure number in dollars be spent up in just hours.
And why is this troubling me? Well, as I mentioned before, IEEE is a “not-for-profit” organization with high standards – they are the people who set standards. For such an organization, spending such a huge amount over something that so irrelevant to what they do, comes up as pure nonsense to me.
Yes, I understand their income is in Billions and a couple of tens of thousand dollars wouldn’t matter anything. But, if you ask me from an ethical standpoint, I’ll have to raise an eyebrow. A technical professional body doesn’t stand to gain anything more than a few Twitter followers and increase in brand reach by spending this mountain of an amount.
(Update1: One more point to add – The advertising would have made more sense if the activity of the account was interactive and engaging instead of broadcasting. With the present scope of activity, I really doubt the actual ROI (Return-on-Investment) on the expense)
(Update2: Following is the http://fakers.statuspeople.com report of number of fake and inactive followers for IEEEXplore Twitter Account. Sadly, this solidifies my reasoning on why the money spent on Ads was actually a waste)
I’ll be very happy if someone can prove me wrong on this finding or provide a suitable explanation to this activity. But, for now, as a passionate IEEE Volunteer, I am disappointed!
– Vijay S Paul