Twitter could absolutely become a paid service and move away from ads as its business model. No political ads to worry about. No interference with the product experience. And believe it or not, if I understand correctly these services (FB, Twitter) have an ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) of just $5-8 per year.
Imagine paying $1-3 per month for FB or Twitter. We'd no longer be the product — our data not for sale — and the companies would make more money! Knowing that my message would get received, I'd happily pay to slide into the DMs like people do to me on LinkedIn (mostly service providers, but I've gotten some great biz dev connections from InMail).
It's almost a running joke, up there with Daft Punk playing at the trash fence, that Twitter just won't release an edit button. With a move towards paying subscribers, maybe Twitter will listen to its real customers -- content writers -- rather than advertisers.
I am not that up to date with Twitter. Are they in the same class as FB and Google?
yep, I remember when cable tv was ad-free (because who would've dreamt people would be ok with paying a subscription fee while still getting ads shoved down their throat?)
That sounds so much more pleasant than what we have today.
When cable had no ads, did all programs just run continously? If a channel did a special where they played standard TV programs designed for over the air broadcast (18-23 minutes/episode), did they just play them consecutively or have some other filler to keep on a 30 or 60 minute schedule?
Between shows, they have a short ad break advertising other BBC shows and live broadcasts that will be playing at a later time, but nothing paid.
How do they schedule the shows to account for the odd lengths?
Certainly up through the 90s the 'big ticket' and imported shows started on the hour or :30 and everything else slotted around that. Secondary programmes often started at :50 or :15 as a result.
If timings were really awkward they would pad five or ten minutes with a short filler about hot air ballooning or pottery making or somesuch
Premium channels would fill the gaps between shows with advertisements for upcoming shows on the same channel or affiliated channels. Coming from broadcast TV, networks like HBO were kind of incredible; no ads, just the thing you went there to watch.
By then, however, the non-premium channels definitely carried ads.
I guess that how TV without ads would look like.
Sounds like she was viewing the direct feed or something. There is a documentary called "Spin" which was recorded footage of the downtime between ads. You can see, for example, George H.W. Bush chatting up Larry King. There is footage of Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and others. The people being recorded don't seem to realize that the satellite feed continues during a break or downtime.
I pay for Netflix, but go watch a Korean drama and they are clearly advertising Subway, KFC, Samsung, etc. right there in the show through the show itself.
Movies do this too, and you paid for that expensive ticket. Wayne's World even did a parody of this in 1992:
Advertising is incredibly pervasive in our modern society and only going to increase.
Similarly to pay per view.
That those channels now show commercials (and has for a long enough time that people think "it was always like this") just cements our expectations that commercials are a fact of life.
So am I. The problem is that the paying members are also the same members that are most valuable to advertisers (because they have disposable cash and are probably 'power users' of the platform), so there is an incentive to 'sell them' to advertisers as well.
You could do freemium, but you'd make a lot less money (FB would anyway, maybe this would work for Twitter) without reducing your support costs.
So yeah, I'm not sure this would work in the current setup (even global privacy laws with teeth will move from individual level ads to cohort level ads). The trouble is not that subscription services are worse, it's that ads are super profitable if you're a really big service.
I think Windows (10 especially) is Exhibit A here (its “users” are definitely the product, but MS is happy to take their free money — or not, you can download it for $0 from their site, and cheap activation keys are easy to find), and the world’s first trillion dollar company is Exhibit B — its end-users are customers in many senses of the word, and they’re not the product, but a product that they offer to their walled garden’s developers with strings attached.
I also would never pay for participation in a monolithic user-generated content platform with questionable "curation" (e.g. Youtube Premium), but directly paying for hosting/moderation/admin work is still the way forward IMO.
I wish that paying for Spotify meant that my privacy would be respected, but I have zero illusions that they basically gather at least as much data as free customers.
Deleting and reposting hurts and would eliminate engagement statistics.
From a product experience, edited tweets, similar to Slack, could show an "(edited)" that when clicked on let's a user see the version history. That way, it can't be abused, but does allow for minor typos (e.g. https://twitter.com/sir/status/1353737949729468416)
It kind of makes the situation worse than it is now.
When you quote someone, you repeat what they said, not what they might repeat some time in the future. When you quote a book, you write down what's written in the book. Not what the author writes in the next edition.
You may in time edit/remove/amend your tweet to comment on further changes.
At the very least, a retweet always means "I want more people to see this message".
- it makes authors think more before posting; if there are typos, or it isn’t exactly what they want to say, and it gains traction, they can’t fix it, so they work to make it right the first time
- Most people ignore edit histories [citation needed; based on my own experience and knowledge of others’]. As a result, if the post is edited, the conversation can get fragmented and confusing for later readers
That said, I’d love it if there were a way to see deleted tweets, at least of politicians
Twitter is defined by tweets not being polished Facebook or LinkedIn posts. Except for people who don't use it that way, but they feel artificial to me. I'd rather all of Twitter not drift that direction.
And personally, I love that I can't worry about fixing typos. If they're bad enough I delete. If not, move on, stay humble and pay more attention next time.
Maybe there should be a maximum number of characters edited. If I have liked/retweeted a tweet, and its author then completely rewrites it,I would want my "engagement" eliminated.
Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.
Am considering taking Tesla private at $42. Funding secured.
Maybe just make editing work like deletion/repost: Remove all likes a retweets. Then after n minutes it becomes an unattractive thing to do.
Except in a distributed system like Twitter (including client and server) there is no single timeline, and amateur digital forensics will erroneously say "aha, but you retweeted it before it was edited"
I'd love this honestly. Even if it was just a delete and repost under the hood, generally I find I want an edit button just after posting and noticing all the typos.
As long as the interface interacted like an edit form rather than have me copy and then rebuild the tweet I'd be good to go.
Users would get used to it within days either way.
So my inbox is the product? I think the number of people willing to pay $36 per annum to not see sponsored content in amongst all the organic marketing spam in newsfeeds is a negligible proportion of the user base, especially since ad blockers can be configured to hide it anyway.
I don't. Centralization of censorship ability in a small number of platforms is a bad thing for everyone. Twitter and Instagram or any other centralized censor becoming a "better service" makes our whole society worse.
It's time to leave Twitter and never look back. Only assholes tell other adults what they're allowed to see or read.
I tolerated Twitter deciding what I was allowed to write for a dozen years. When they started censoring search and dictating what I was allowed to read, I deleted my account.
Sharecropping on someone else's platform is a dead end.
Twitter's willingness to silence users for political reasons will ensure this service never competes with Substack in any meaningful way.
I don't doubt that it will be popular, but you won't see top-tier independent journalists building their houses on a Twitter's land after what we learned in the past year.
It's easier for a service to say "We'll always stand by our users" when they have like two users, and none of are heads of states, controversial personalities with huge audiences, diplomats, operatives, etc.
Let's wait and see what Substack's position will become when it becomes a service that matters.
Inciting a coup is technically a political reason, but I think most people agree that's a valid reason to silence someone.
No sane journalist would rely on Twitter for income after that.
Where did you get that that story was true? It was mostly fake but with some elements of truth in it. The story itselve didn't even seem credible was my POV.
I'm not going to break it down point-by-point because you're just shifting the goalposts now. Twitter and FB let plenty of fake and exaggerated stories run wild when they say something negative about Trump. For example, the fake stories about Trump telling people to "Drink/inject bleach", the fake stories about him calling COVID a "hoax", and the fake stories about him calling Nazis "very fine people".
All of those were debunked -- even by left-leaning fact-checkers -- yet none of them were removed or penalized on the social media platforms.
> Many can't be validated. They are sent from domains that don't use DKIM to sign outgoing emails.
> There are other timestamps in the email headers/metadata, but they aren't validated by DKIM, and hence, could be forged.
> I personally have many doubts about where this email came from, and the overall "narrative" they are trying to push. Regardless, I can validate the basic facts about this email.
Like I said: it contains elements of truth. Someone send a guy one email to verify that one explicitly...
Or as Steve Jobs put it: "Somewhere between the janitor and the CEO, reasons stop mattering."
A good spin has at least one verifiable element and the rest is vague enough to not be accountable, but still gets the message out.
A price for FB in Brazil? R$ 1 ($0,2). And the free option would still get a huge market share.
Good example of this is WhatsApp, IIRC it was free for a year then charged $1 for lifetime access, people still scrambled to get around the app(download illegal APKs, or recreate accounts).
1 - Most people will not want to pay. They will spend a whole day/weekend trying to find a free alternative, even if it costs just a couple bucks.
2 - Many, many people don't have credit cards. You would need to support boleto or debit. Generating and managing boletos adds cost, so you would need to increase your fees not to lose money
This line of reasoning implicitly treats those products as some sort of public good. I imagine it’s beneficial to their owners—but is it to the users?
There’s a conflict of interest here. Networks want to be free. Huge account numbers and de-facto public good status positively influence network valuations and allow them to charge more for ads; armies of troll and no-value accounts greatly inflate the numbers; the loser turns out to be legitimate users. If we are sure they remain afloat if we pay them, why should we worry about product’s popularity more than our own treatment?
They are not central parks or public squares. They don’t have the obligation of being free. They are free to discriminate subscription prices between countries, which many companies do today (Apple Music is 5 times cheaper in India than in the US).
And if geographical price discrimination is not enough, if I’m poor I have the freedom to use another social network that charges less or nothing; when I (hopefully) grow my income and get fed up with myself being a product of X I can choose to invest into a more expensive tier of social networking and move my social presence to Y—what’s wrong with that?
I suspect that normalizing paid options could make social networking more heterogenous, encourage competition, and likely benefit the society in the long run.
 If https://datatransferproject.dev pans out, I could perhaps even take my posts with me.
Facebook was successful because 'everyone' was on Facebook. It was the one place that I would go and find almost everyone I knew, and if I posted something there, all of them would have access to it.
Similarly, I've tried migrating from Twitter to Mastodon. But no one I know uses it, so why bother?
I would pay for Facebook/Twitter, but on the condition that other people are also paying. As soon as people start leaving, there's no much point.
I am not convinced that Facebook became successful because it was open to everyone. Arguably, FB owes its success precisely to its exclusive status in the early days, and to rising prevalence of affordable devices in the world. It’s difficult to know whether it was successful because it became open, or it happened independently. However, I agree that social networks played a significant role in recent past. (I think that could be fading away, though.)
> Similarly, I've tried migrating from Twitter to Mastodon. But no one I know uses it, so why bother?
> I would pay for Facebook/Twitter, but on the condition that other people are also paying. As soon as people start leaving, there's no much point.
I don’t think it’s worth treating FB/Twitter/Mastodon as some sort of window to the whole of humanity. There are interesting people who do not engage or have no presence on Twitter or Facebook.
Competition is tough when the biggest players radically undercut on price by being free thanks to investor and ad money, riding on network effects of the past. However, users are waking up that by engaging on a free ad-supported service they become the product. The way it’s going, more and more people are using ad-supported free platforms to self-promote, campaign, spread different kinds of evangelism, and/or link to profiles to elsewhere online where higher level of engagement is possible. Where they link to is where new social networks have an opportunity.
I think plurality of social networks and a single network for everyone both have their problems.
A plurality of networks presents a challenge in that it’s difficult for one person to engage on many disparate platforms (consumes time and effort), but this can be addressed: for example, with paid networks that don’t need to show ads and can thus offer complete APIs, we just might see fully featured multi-network GUI clients bridging them together.
Having a single network where everyone participates, on the other hand, seems unrealistic—even in a single country. This, I think, can not be addressed at all (except by having a government maintain its own censored avenue for discussion, which is only really compatible with a very authoritarian regime).
Not to say it couldn't work, but I'm guessing the reason it hasn't been tried is at least partially do to there being no going back
You’re not the product in the Fediverse, where Pleroma says you can run a small server for ~$4/month (https://pleroma.social/blog/2021/01/13/the-big-pleroma-and-f...). Or you can join someone else’s instance and donate eg. to GNU Social’s lead developer on Liberapay (https://liberapay.com/diogo/donate) or Mastodon
on Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/mastodon, $1/month gives you access ironically to a Discord channel).
I am also not convinced that people would pay to just get rid of ads, especially when there are free and easy alternatives available.
I _am_ convinced that a company like Facebook will try to launch a paid content service with their own exclusives since that seems to be the thing that big content providers are doing.
The problem is that they are making the bulk of their money from the top tier of their users (which is a really tiny percentage); and the rest is not monetize-able. If your are making $80-100 from your top guys (who will probably, gladly, pay $5/month subscription), you still come short. And the mass that makes you $0/year is not going to pay at any price, anyway. They are just there to keep the higher value audience.
FB is on the high end of ARPU. Most other services are cents to low dollars.
Imagine paying $1-3 per month for FB or Twitter.
I think it would be a good thing. This sounds harsh but honestly most of the the types of people that are unwilling to pay $1-3 per month for the service are probably the types that don't make the service a better social network.
It would also hopefully disincentivize government agencies and maybe even politicians from using it as a channel of communications since it's more along the lines of a traditional business arrangement and not a "free, TV-like" service.
tl;dr twitter giving up on ads ain't happening