Categories: Tech

After the acquisition of Elon Musk, will Twitter remain free?

Twitter is free. And he always has been.
At least with us.
A necessary specification considering that, in some countries, there is a paid version of the microblogging social network. We are talking about Twitter Blue, a subscription launched last year in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Let me be clear, it is not a mandatory subscription. The platform has simply decided to experiment with a new form of monetization, based on the introduction of exclusive features designed to customize the user experience. The results, however, were not as expected: in the first two weeks Twitter Blue allowed the company to collect only $ 6,000. In short, a flop.
However, this does not mean that Twitter will stop thinking and introducing new forms of income. But which ones?

Twitter will remain free

Let’s start with an important assumption: Twitter will remain free.
The social network is unlikely to suddenly become paid. In fact, we are talking about a platform born in 2006, which means that for 16 years, users have used Twitter without spending anything, free to disseminate their thoughts and content for free. A radical change such as the introduction of a monthly subscription would certainly not be well received by users. Indeed, the reaction could be immediate, leading to a haemorrhage of users that would end up undermining the survival of the platform.

This obviously does not mean that no one will ever be willing to spend a small amount to stay on a social network. This is simply not the right time. If Twitter actually decides to go down this road, it would have to pave the way in some way, with an extremely gradual transition that could take years.

Twitter Blue

However, the adoption of a system similar to the current one remains more plausible Twitter Blue.
As anticipated, Blue is a monthly subscription that gives you exclusive access to premium features and app customizations. But which ones? Well, that’s actually the weak point of the current paid solution. Twitter Blue now offers the possibility to cancel a tweet within 60 seconds of publication, to read a series of articles without advertising, to activate the Reader mode, to create folders of bookmarks and to apply some aesthetic changes. All this by spending 3 US dollars per month.

You understand that none of these functions really affect the actual user experience. Or, in any case, not enough to justify the $ 36 required in a year.
Just to make a comparison: today with 36 euros you pay the annual subscription of Amazon Prime which includes free deliveries, Prime Music, Prime Reading, Prime Video, Deliveroo Plus … They are different platforms, it is evident, but, having to spend 36 euros, your savings are much more likely to go to the e-commerce giant than to the microblogging social network.

So if Elon Musk decides to keep and maybe expand this model – which is probable, considering that he has already expressed himself in favor of this solution – it will be necessary to find additional features that can really make a difference. Or lower costs given that, by the same admission of the multibillionaire, the price is disproportionate to the offer.

Creators and monetization

Among the novelties for 2021 there are Super Follows, tips and Spaces with tickets. And yes, they are all tools introduced by Twitter to allow creators – content creators – to monetize, that is, to earn thanks to the contents that are produced and posted on the bird’s social network.
So, if they’re tools to help creators, what the hell does Twitter earnings have to do with it?
Monetization tools for users are never free for the creator.
This doesn’t mean that Twitter asks influencers for money directly to allow them to use these features, but that withholds a small percentage for each transaction.

Think for example of Super Follows. They are paid monthly subscriptions that offer bonus content, exclusive previews and benefits.
“The creator can get up to 97% of what you pay, net of in-app purchase fees, up to a maximum of $ 50,000 over a lifetime, under Terms for the superfollow creator program of Twitter. – explains the dedicated page – After reaching $ 50,000 in their lifetime, creators can get up to 80% of revenues, net of in-app purchase fees. “

This, to date, seems the simplest way to go. Twitter would therefore remain free but focus on users and their desire to help and encourage their favorite creators. A path that we have already seen other platforms take, such as YouTube and Twitch, and that seems to work.

But will it be enough?

Probably not.
It is true that Elon Musk has stated that his interest in Twitter is not related to earnings but it is also true that the platform must in any case generate revenue. And, considering that the eccentric American entrepreneur will have to return his investment – 44 billion dollars, we remind you -, it will not be enough to rely on the innovations recently implemented by the platform. Nor on the income generated by good old advertising.
In short, Elon will have to come up with something but that something is unlikely to be “Twitter for a fee”. Especially considering that freedom of expression will be one of the pillars of his strategy.

Published by
Walker Ronnie

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