Hawkinson's timing was good. Although home automation has been around for decades, it's still far from mainstream. At the same time that SmartThings launched, Nest Labs, a "smart thermostat" created by former Apple engineers Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, was hitting the market.
When advertising online, you need to take into account one of the most basic factors of the audience you are reaching: what devices they are using. Targeting Mobile Users through Google Adwords The most popular online advertising platform, in use by marketers of all sizes, is Google AdWords.
The intentions for this experiment are probably to help increase engagement. One could even argue that for content Twitter deems to be "breaking news," putting important tweets from the accounts a person's Twitter friends follow into that person's main timeline could be valuable.