Have you signed on to Twitter recently, checked out the top of your feed and found yourself scrolling through messages that weren’t posted by accounts that you follow or re-tweeted by anyone you do? Us too! Oh, and have you noticed #areyoubetteroff trending over the last few days? So have we–and there’s a good reason for this. It’s called money.

You’ve probably realized by now that these unwanted messages are known as “promoted trends”, and they’re a tool almost always used by big businesses eager to get their PR spiel in front of as many eyeballs as possible without any inconvenient filters. They’re more than a little annoying, but we’ve accepted them as part of the Twitter landscape–much like sponsored Facebook ads.

We know you were wondering: Can politicians turn these tools into (rhetorically) formidable weapons? Yes, they can!  Read more