#RIPTwitter was trending, and people were questioning why someone would ‘pay for more tweets’, but I think that’s rather dismissive. There’s reasons to be excited about Twitter’s plans for a paid, ‘Super Followers’ revenue stream.
Why? Because these systems are a lifeline for disabled people and other marginalised creators when other avenues don’t yield results. As one deaf creator said recently, YouTube videos on a subject as niche as accessibility, for example, are unlikely to generate much attention or views, which go on to generate revenues for channels. When YouTube’s unreliable monetisation system fails to create results, external revenue streams such as Patreon offer a significant safety net, and plug the gap.
So, what ‘gap’ is Twitter trying to fill with Super Follows? What does it offer that’s missing from the main product?
The answer perhaps lies in community. When the main timeline has become an endless void in which we must all bid for popularity (there’s a reason why the term ‘doomscrolling’ has become more well-known over the years), it may well be that we’re looking for something a little more specific.
There’s a reason why Twitter’s Kayvon Beykpour and Dantley Davis were focussed heavily on hobbies, interests, Lists, Topics and micro-communities in their presentation on Twitter’s Analyst Day on Thursday this week. In amongst the noise, people want deeper connections (look no further than Spaces for another example of this). Subscriber-only newsletters can be an opportunity for disabled people to offer up paid-for insights and awareness resources, while exclusive Community spaces can bring fanbases or specific demographics together.
Speaking of spaces, one area which isn’t touched upon in the offering for ‘Super Followers’ is Spaces. They could perhaps get the exclusive opportunity to moderate a user’s Spaces, for example. For the creators themselves - especially disabled people - they could be a great opportunity to host weekly webinars educating others on an issue. For up-and-coming bands, it could allow for them to give intimate performances to a small crowd, or share new material in a listening party.
All of these changes are, essentially, Twitter expanding upon the hashtag. Now, they aren’t just trending memes or reactionary comments, they are movements and organisations, and this new feature certainly recognises that, offering something It is, essentially, Twitter’s take on Facebook Groups.