Twitter head-honcho Jack Dorsey has indicated that he thinks people should be able to tip your favourite tweeters on the platform. Seemingly out of nowhere the Head Twit suggested that offering people a way to subscribe or donate to their favourite micro-bloggers might be another way for the company to monetise the platform. Presumably it would take a cut of tips, but also enable creators to make some money from their exquisitely executed mini-missives.
The initiative is one of a few ways the platform is looking to increase revenue in an era of uncertain ad rates. This kind of feels like Patreon, but with potentially more appeal. For example, if your favourite tweeter says something especially brilliant, why not fire a buck at them for it. After all, people do spend a lot of time getting their tweets right and the results can be amazing. The company is also taking steps to combat misinformation, which is a major problem for all social media companies.
And it makes sense to me, @IanMorris78, as I languish on the platform waiting for great fame and fortune to befall me, while I complain about my broadband and retweet far wittier people than me. It would be genuinely useful to be able to say thanks to other people for tweets that make you laugh or genuinely educate you. There are some greats on Twitter, and it would benefit the company to reward them so they don’t all leave for TikTok and Instagram.
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According to Gizmodo, Jack’s comments were addressed to the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference. He said, “I think the first thing we want to focus on is that economic incentive to people who are contributing to Twitter.” A Twitter spokesperson later told Giz that while they were excited about lots of things, this particular thing was just one potential idea.
And followers tipping does introduce another potential route for creators to make money that is not ad-based. I would say this, as a journalist, but the high level of sponsored posts does not offer readers a particularly impartial route to products. If an influencer earns money based on helpful, non-sponsored content then that would be a good thing. Of course, it could also be a bad thing depending on the safeguards put in place to stop someone posting advertising content and then enjoying an “impromptu” tip from a major brand.
Still, taken at face value, as a service that rewards people for interesting content, I’m really interested in this concept.