Recently Twitter announced that it is considering a paid for version of Tweetdeck for professional users to offer, “more powerful tools to help markets, journalists, professionals, and others in our community find out what is happening in the world quicker“.
The proposed changes resemble LinkedIn’s premium tiered service and will offer more analytics for professionals aiming to maximise reach.
Since its inception, Twitter has always prided itself on giving users an equal voice. Despite the gradual changes brought about by algorithmic sorting, this is still largely the case.
While, the power elite (or those users with enough money to pay for third-party analytics) currently experience priority when it comes to sorting tweets, the new premium service may create an even larger divide between users. In order to compete with other analytic services currently in use, Tweetdeck premium will need to offer something unique based on exclusive information or functionality.
In doing this, there is a danger that Twitter will:
“transform from a everyone-has-a-voice dialogue back into a traditional broadcast medium for elites in which paying users speak to the world and free users join to listen to those elites and perhaps contribute their comments where elites want to hear them.”
The proposed changes will cost premium users around $20 a month, meaning that for the average user our voices could become lost in a sea of corporate messages and celebrity offerings.
Will it work?
If Twitter goes ahead with the proposed changes, a two-tier divide will only serve to drive users towards any of the myriad of new social media platforms.
One of the issues that Twitter is experience is the lack of new users. Should a premium service begin to drive away users then the subscription loses its value and appeal, meaning Twitter could see even further financial losses than the £1.6 billion they have declared in the last 10 years.
While I remain hopeful that Twitter will come up with a more creative solution that putting a price tag on their services, in the meantime I am going to make the most of getting my content seen while I still can.