The hashtag #RIPTwitter wasn’t likely the response that the executives at Twitter likely expected – or certainly hoped – to see trending on Friday morning. However, it quickly became one of the top-five topics on the micro-blogging service with nearly 40,000 tweets as users expressed bluntly their opinion of the new feature, Super Follows.
Memes pushed home the feelings of users after Twitter announced that it would let people charge money for access to additional or exclusive content. The response was itself priceless!
A common refrain was that users of the social media platform simply wanted to have the ability to edit their posts.
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Super Money Maker?
Twitter had announced the new “function” during its Twitter Analyst Day 2021 and the social media company said it was being added as a way to provide “monetary incentive models for creators and publishers to be directly supported by their audience.”
While Twitter is certainly pushing the fact that it would provide creators with income, the fact remains that the service could also use a revenue stream.
“Twitter needs to find more revenue sources while keeping the core product free,” explained technology analyst Roger Entner of Recon Analytics.
“Just like ‘free’ massively multiplayer online games that sell add-ons that sometimes make a difference, but are often mostly cosmetic, Twitter is following the same successful path,” added Entner. “There is always backlash to change, but Twitter should ignore this vocal minority who don’t pay anything for the service. Twitter isn’t a charity but a profit-making enterprise for investors.”
Addressing The Backlash
Based on the response that Twitter received – notably the #RIPTwitter – it doesn’t sound like users exactly seem to be onboard with paying for what was free.
“People are skeptical, and it is understandable, as they’ve enjoyed the free and unfettered access for so long, and even the idea of paying for certain content is jarring,” said futurist and brand strategist Scott Steinberg.
“People do follow and do business online with others, and Twitter has been a big part of that for years,” added Steinberg. “There are also established cults of personality – from the Kardashians to those in the political spectrum, and it could be that some are willing to pay money to connect with and having greater access to those individuals.”
Value Add And Patreonage
However, based on some of the response, few people seem all that eager to pay money to those who are already considered part of the financial elite, so Twitter’s strategy could backfire. The question then becomes whether Super Follows can actually be ‘a value add’ for the average user?
“It will come down to what you actually get for your money,” said Steinberg. “Users are going to want adequate value to pay for this ‘upgrade.’ If you are a looking to get connected with a thought leader or dealing with a pop culture icon it might be worth the paying to do so. But they can’t just phone it in or the followers will quickly tune out.”
Essentially this could be similar to Patreon, which allows content creators to run a subscription service by helping those creators and artists earn a monthly income by providing rewards and perks to the subscriptions.
“This has the potential to be a huge business model for the creators,” added Steinberg. “Even a handful of well funded fans can use give creators the ability to work independently and live their dreams.”