Discover more from bad cattitude
why you should be thrilled to pay twitter a monthly fee
if you want to be treated like a customer, act like one
this simple yet oft ignored truth has been said many times:
if you do not pay for a good or service, you are not the customer.
you are the product.
this is the essence of most of the social media model. you are not the customer. you are what the customer buys. they are paying to have you arranged, sorted, packaged, and (yes) processed.
you’re just chum for the advertising shark pit.
this means that as long as you continue to be the product and not the customer it is never going to be YOUR public square, it’s going to be “PUBLIC SQUARE 2.0™ brought to you by gigantocorp” and the rules will be their rules and the goals will be their goals.
yours will go begging.
you’re going to be a big mac sitting under the warming lights complaining about the mcdonalds diversity hire policy.
and that’s a deeply stupid future.
and make no mistake: that is 100% the future that the big advertisers want for you. in response to the potential freeing of twitter they are already organizing and trying to herd you back into it.
gatopal™ igor has details here:
and it is EXACTLY the people you’d expect:
“accountable tech” is just a front for organized progressive censorship. they are rallying folks like pfizer to “boycott twitter advertising” until they get to put their thumb back on the content scale and suppress the voices and ideas they do not like.
it’s useful to recall that big pharma are NOT predominantly science companies. mostly, they are massive marketing and sales organizations who buy/license their product development from other firms and then sell and distribute it. this means they have MASSIVE ad budgets and this gives them massive media clout especially in an age when advertising is on the wane as a model in so many mediums. ever wonder why TV and print media, even FOX, must be so slavishly pro covid vaxx? because that’s who pays the bills and the payor of the piper is the caller of the tune.
tucker carson and a few others bravely stood against this.
most did not.
and now, it’s elon’s turn to show us whether he can stand tough as the knives are clearly out for him.
he has seemed well aware of this issue and described advertisers (and even company status) as a “threat surface” to the free public square.
and this is exactly right.
but if we want to change it, it’s going to require a change in consumer mindset. people have been absolutely, hilariously, irrationally opposed to paying for anything on social media but, as the old truism goes “freedom isn’t free” and if you want an advertising supported public square, guess who is going to be in charge?
(hint: it won’t be you)
so it’s time to realize:
you WANT to be the customer, not the product.
and the customer pays.
so, get some perspective guys: if you wanna own it, you gotta buy it.
just like everything else.
the hilarity of the outrage around elon musk proposing to charge $8/mo for verified blue check status is epic.
OMG, this status is SO important! i need it! it validates me on twitter and i EARNED it! but no, i won’t pay less than $100 a year for the “privilege” i so value.
it rings grossly false.
it’s probably more this than anything else:
BUT, and i say this in the interest of moving the debate forward and finding solutions, there is also some truth in the concerns and i suspect this is because the offering is a bit muddled and ought be more nuanced.
this is not, perhaps, the best framing of the issue:
to be sure, the “blue check mafia” has been run like a fairly exclusive club with those on “our side” getting verified and huge accounts like justin hart or zerohedge being unable to get checks.
and i think the problem here is simple: there are two different issues being conflated.
one is access to being “verified” as a “public figure” or a “unique thing.”
and this is something that, while it’s fine to ask folks to pay for it, is perhaps not something that ought be simply sold to any and all.
it is actually a useful feature to have a simple, specific marker on accounts that this is THE white house or THE new york post or (gasp) THE el gato malo and not some other faux feline of questionable goodness. it’s useful to be able to rapidly establish that this is not someone using a similar name to confuse, parody, or draw attention.
knowing who is speaking in the public square is a valuable thing. it’s a vital thing. if you want to generate real opinions about what’s going on, you need to know what the actors are actually saying and be sure that it was them saying it. the value of twitter is hearing people in their own words and therefore knowing that it is really them speaking is a key underpinning.
removing that seems like a poor idea. (but expanding the sorts of folks that can pay for what is, in effect, a twitter trademark and making such marks defensible is a great idea.)
the second issue is “access to features” and this is a classic sort of “freemium” model where you have an offering that can be accessed thru ads and then another where users pay, stop getting ads, and get some additional features. this is another obvious opportunity for twitter.
i mean, my god, just allowing better sort, content and keyword based notifications, and paying to be able to make twitter into more of a topic driven news aggregation and alert system (and maybe heat maps about what’s being discussed) would be stunningly valuable. it’s the best news source and aggregator on earth. but the interface SUCKS. i would instantly pay $20 a month if it let me build a custom data dashboard out of it. this is incredibly ripe low hanging fruit.
and so is enabling payments to content creators and taking a “rake” and this is what makes integrating payment systems into twitter so potentially potent especially if micropayments take off. selling deep dives into data, information, or access opens up all kinds of opportunities and replicating “business intelligence” networks like GLG by allowing “pay for play” conversations where you can pay to ask the expert of your choice via DM about a topic you need to understand. this alone could render twitter a massively valuable business.
the simple fact is that there are 100 ways to do this, but all require one thing: we need to start acting like customers not product. and customers pay.
there are ~400,000 “verified accounts” on twitter.
there are 240 million daily users.
if every daily user paid $1/mo, a pittance for the astonishing value of twitter, that’s $2.8bn. (this is likely higher as the user base is bigger and not everyone is everyday)
if every verified account paid $8, that’s another $3.8bn.
that right there is 32% more revenue that twitter did last year and it would be more profitable revenue as there would be no sales and commission costs on ads or costs to serve them.
and we have not even tacked on the other models like paid content or micropayment support of creators yet.
you’re never going to get everyone to pay. but if you go fremium, serve adds to the “free” users, sell $5 ad free modes and a larger feature set to any user that wants it, $20 for power users that want features that will rival or exceed a bloomberg terminal, and then have an $8 “verified” offering that includes the $5 features and adds some sort of marker that you are the specific thing you claim to be (and ensure that this is so) you get the best of all worlds.
you could get this thing to $10bn in revs in short order and cut the advertiser clout by 90%.
you keep access high, you monetize the “power users” who want more features, and you ask the big verified gang who reap such a preponderant share of twitter’s value to help shoulder the load of keeping the public square in which they participate in the hands of the public.
watching the AOC’s of the world get the vapors and claim this is somehow a mitigation of speech rings awfully false.
i mean, "it's not free speech if i don't get a special credential" seems like a pretty uncompelling mantra.
and it really is a sort of odd dichotomy, no?
apparently, making the “other” pvivileged pay is popular but paying oneself is problematic?
but again, this is the key pivot:
“i want to be treated like the customer but want someone else to put up the dough for it” is a politician’s stance and wanting to mire you into having to stay in such an ecosystem is a political game.
turning twitter into a user pays system is what will make it yours.
it’s what will make it “free” in the sense you actually care about.
and if one will not pay the price of a half a latte a month for access to that, it’s hard to imagine how one would possess standing to whine about outcomes.
and so if we would have the public square change, mindsets must change.
if you want the public square to be yours, you need to be the customer.
and the customer pays.