Remember that time when Twitter became a non-profit?

Photo by Kazuend

Looking at all the acquisitions done of companies instrumental to the modern internet I only recognize a handful, and fewer continued their respective leadership roles. In my mind the worst thing that can happen for Twitter is a purchase by any company.

Twitter to me is more like Wikipedia than Facebook, or LinkedIn. It is a fundamental component of public speech globally. So much good has come from their platform and their facilitation of amazing ideas and causes spreading.

My fear is that if any company buys Twitter, it will close the doors to free speech, it will throttle voices as they feel works for them. This is not conspiracy it’s just a fact, look at any media company earning its living from advertisers — who are no more than self interested companies.

Here is a radical idea. What if Twitter was sold on KickStarter to the users that made the company? There are approximately 320 million users on Twitter, if each paid $60 then Twitter would be sold to its users for $19.2 billion or $6 per share more than the $26 it went public for. This would be incredible for all shareholders.

As soon as the funds are committed on Kickstarter, Twitter would convert to a 501(c)(3) non-profit and issue all users a tax-credit and a certified membership (super verified user) status. The board would expand and yearly strategic votes would be opened to all certified members where they can vote on key community and strategic matters such as it’s manifesto and principals etc.

The benefit of Twitter making this change and remaining independently user owned means that the voices that drove its growth won’t be silenced, it means that everyone with a message will have the opportunity to speak and be heard. Letting their voices be heard by those who choose to listen and believe in them and their message rather than it being silenced by those who find it inconvenient.

It can continue to monetize as it has been, probably less aggressively, but more so focus on enabling respectful but unfiltered debate and broadcasting by any member in the world. They could even forgo any advertising to even more aggressively be non-partisan and uninfluenced by any corporation or special interest groups by collecting annual membership fees of $12 to $60 per year (or country specific rates nominal enough not to exclude anyone) or donations. A single membership can be held by a natural person or a corporation, with one membership contributing to one vote.

Membership and accounts should not be confused, you should be able to still start and manage as many accounts and voices as you choose for free.

Twitter would become the definitive source of news.

That’s just a thought but I feel that Twitter is as important as Wikipedia, and when it falls prey to special interest groups and voices start getting muted due to that it will be the end of Twitter, and a hard blow to the first amendment in the US or generally freedom of speech anywhere else.

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