Twitter Is Finally Getting It

It would appear that Twitter is finally understanding how to compete after years of static business. In fact, it looks as though they’ve taken my proposed two-step plan for making the social network relevant and they’ve reversed it. There are rumblings that Twitter is considering a subscription-based model for power users and companies.

This is good. This is very good. There are a few questions, though.

1. How will the subscription model scale?

Take a company like Nike, for instance. They have a ton of Twitter accounts; some a geo-targeted, others are specific to a sport or lifestyle category. Initial conversations appear to indicate that Twitter is discussing a $19.99 subscription model. What will this model look like at scale for brands or power users who have multiple accounts?

My personal opinion is that Twitter needs some type of enterprise model to convince companies and power users that subscribing all of their current accounts is worthwhile. Otherwise, companies may decided to contract their presence on the platform which would harm Twitter’s value and the value prop to consumers.

A potential look at a version of the features within Twitter’s proposed subscription model

2. Will this model roll out to ‘normal’ Twitter users?

My hunch is no, but I hope I am wrong and here’s why: trolls. The easiest way to combat an abuse problem is to make it more costly for someone to engage in abusive behavior. However, the model would have to be built in such a way that it provides great value to normal users in order to keep them from abandoning the platform. If Twitter is looking to charge power users and companies $19.99 per month, something that’s 10–20% of that cost feels like a good range for a normal user’s subscription. Let’s say, $1.99 to $3.99. Moreover, Twitter could offer incentives to sign-up for annual contracts rather than pay-per-month.

Ultimately, this is a step in the right direction for Twitter. If in fact this concept is scalable for the company, and if they can continue to take steps to reduce abuse on the platform then Twitter might become as valuable financially as it has proven to be culturally.

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