Consented Hijack

It's personalized advertising, so why wouldn't you personalize it?

Jason Yuan, Omar Rizwan and Jeff Dlouhy recently published a browser extension called Hijack Your Feed.

I’ll let Jason’s introduction of Hijack Your Feed explain the details of the project if you’re interested. In short, Hijack Your Feed replaces ads in one’s Twitter timeline with colorful prompts from your Reminders app. It uses space made to grab your attention, to remind you instead about actions that are necessary or desirable to you.

It’s an great exploration of the ad blocker concept. Where one might simply make ad space disappear, why not give it a new purpose instead? If a feed exists for entertainment, but also encourages us to take beneficial actions outside of itself, then it becomes a much better citizen of our time and attention.

Repurposing ad space has lots of history in printed and televised media. Newspapers usually have filler ads to take up blank spaces in their layouts as well as their classifieds, and these fillers usually promote local non-profits and publicly available resources. Outdoor advertising – billboards and the like – run their own ads when demand is low, and sometimes they partner with museums or local art groups to display art in unused ad space. Television channels do similar things.

There’s a pattern to these examples, however. By default, public interest gets the crumbs that remain after all capital interests are fulfilled.

So, open question – what other interesting outcomes might happen, if we could treat all ad space like these crumbs?