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Friday, December 3, 2021

Are you a ‘Super Follower’? Twitter reveals new paid service


Last week, Twitter announced two new changes that redefine the way we use the service.

Twitter is shifting its reliance from advertisements to paid content. In a presentation shared with investors last week, the social media giant announced that it’s working on paid super follows and communities.

Twitter mockups showcasing a Super Follow [Twitter]

The ne wSuper Follows feature work similarly to services such as Twitch, Patreon and Substack, where users can offer exclusive content to their paid subscribers. Subscribers, or ‘Super Followers’ as Twitter calls them, will receive additional perks such as a supporter badge and exclusive content.

The details of how it works remain unknown. It’s not clear whether users can determine their own price for their content, or if that price is set by Twitter. We also don’t know if Twitter takes a cut out of the subscriptions, though it’s very likely that it does.

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A mockup that emerged online shows a Super Follow costing $4.99/month as well as some of the perks available to Super Followers.

As with any major change to a popular app, particularly monetary ones, the announcement was met with some criticism. Though in this case, it appears to be misled.

“How is this app free”, a meme commonly used on Twitter, was trending within minutes of the announcement. While most of the tweets were jokes trying to capitalise on the event, some users were furious at the announcement. The hashtag #RIPTwitter was also trending following the announcement.

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Of course, many took to Twitter (of course) to complain about the new feature, taking aim at the platform for not listening to actual calls for change – a simple edit tweet button.

Despite the inevitable backlash from a vocal minority, Super Follows can be beneficial to both Twitter and content creators on the platform.

In 2019, Twitter generated $3.46 billion in revenue. This may seem like a lot but in reality, it’s only a fraction of Facebook’s $70.7 billion of revenue in the same year.

Content creators will also benefit from this as it’s easier to convert fans into paid subscribers directly on Twitter rather than take them to another platform such as Patreon and charging them there. 

Paying for content isn’t new. Services such as Patreon rely entirely on generating revenue that way.

Additionally, streaming platforms such as Twitch generate almost all revenue through optional donations that often don’t unlock any new content, but are rather just ways for fans to support their favourite creators.

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It’s sensible for Twitter to capitalise on this growing market considering it’s one of the largest content platforms on the internet.

Among the new features, though much less controversial, is ‘Communities’.

CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey has hinted at this change in the past few years. He believes that Twitter can become a healthier platform if people see tweets that are relevant to them based on their interests rather than purely based on virality.

The social media platform revealed its first preview of Communities and Super Follows during its Twitter’s Analyst Day. 

Twitter mockups showcasing Communities [Twitter]

Facebook Groups and Reddit have seen increased growth due to their ability

to connect people based on their interests and share relevant content.

It’s not clear if tweets in a community are automatically curated, or if users can post tweets to a specific group without sharing them with their entire timeline.

Twitter has yet to announce dates for when these changes will launch, though work started on Super Follows at least a few weeks ago.

What do you think about the changes? Would you pay for tweets to support your favourite creators, or are you more excited for the community changes? Let us know in the comments.

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