I hold an intense hate for advertising in my bones — those loud, boisterous, self-important commercial messages plastered on every surface and glowing screen. They stalk me around town and on my pocket-ma-tron, asking for a dollar in exchange for some piece of crap I never wanted. Buy now, subscribe, get 10% off — if the marketers had their way, they'd abolish all independent thought among the masses they're shouting to.

It is probably the over-promises advertising makes that leads me to despise it. If there was less of it, I might like it more. If it was more humble, I might make friends with it. If it brought me value instead of coercing me to click, buy, subscribe, I might do just that.

I clicked one ad recently, and didn't regret it. It was on social media, among an effluent of bad ads. It was for a new album from Fleet Foxes. I had “liked” their page, and so I was getting this sponsored post. I left to buy the album.

This is the only kind of ad I ever want to see in my life. (The last ad I clicked was the same.)

What if we had “ads” in the non-commercial social media space, like the fediverse? Except it wouldn't be a “sponsored” post, but an “important” post. Maybe you could pin a single “important” post to your profile / blog / whatever. Then in your feed, you would see one of these “important” posts, only from people you follow, at regular intervals as you scroll — say, every 10 or 20 posts on a microblogging platform like Mastodon; maybe every 5 posts on your long-form / RSS feed reader.

They would be detached from the chronological timeline; you would only see each post once. Companies could pin a post they want to promote, and individuals could make sure followers see that insightful thing they said. It introduces an algorithm to the chronological feed, but one you can still reason about and understand. It's still non-commercial by nature. It doesn't infringe on your privacy. Would be pretty neat to see.