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The Twitterverse of Madness: What is the future of Twitter?

Nov 08, 2022

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The Twitterverse of Madness: What is the future of Twitter?

Elon Musk has been CEO of Twitter for less than two weeks, and he’s already causing a stir. From firing Twitter’s execs and staff, and “democratising” verification, to suspending parody accounts, and potentially bringing back Vine, it’s safe to say he’s made users and advertisers nervous. 

It’s been revealed that Twitter has been operating at a loss of $4M per day “due to activist groups pressuring advertisers”, hence the decision to slash the staff. However, since his takeover, advertisers have reportedly paused or pulled their advertising spend on the platform. Musk’s mission to loosen Twitter’s content rules could lead to a surge in misinformation and other toxic content, so advertisers are wise to be wary. 

Twitter has always struggled with finding how it can monetise content and offer impactful advertising spaces for businesses. With Musk’s aim to make Twitter the ‘most respected advertising platform in the world,’ we anticipate the introduction of a bunch of paid-for features, new subscriptions, and advertising slots, but could this be at the detriment of user experience? 

What are the features to expect, and how will they impact advertisers and users?

Verification Subscription

The first new addition to Twitter is already available, and causing havoc on the platform. In an attempt to bring ‘power to the people’, a verification subscription has been introduced. Anyone can pay $7.99 a month for the once-coveted blue tick. Even if users have been verified for years, they now have to pay for the subscription or lose the verification. 

The introduction of this subscription has as good as destroyed the integrity of the verification mark. The tick was introduced to allow users to identify genuine celebrity accounts to prevent catfishing and scam messages. With the tick now available to any user, we’ve already seen the rise of “parody” accounts and replica accounts—all with the verification tick. 

To combat this, Musk has announced that anyone operating an impersonation account ‘without clearly specifying “parody” will be permanently suspended’ from the platform. Any name change will also cause temporary loss of the verified checkmark. 

Twitter already had the temporary suspension of verification in place when a user changed their handle, but Musk seemingly plans to expand this to the nicknames/name a user has on their account. Due to the influx of users changing their name to “Elon Musk” in response to the takeover… there have been quite a few (unfair?) suspensions. 

The intention behind widespread verification is to ‘democratise journalism & empower the voice of the people’, while also proving accounts aren’t bots. 

While this new addition isn’t a direct risk for brands and advertisers, the threat of missed, verified parody and impersonation accounts is there, even with the suspension condition in place. 

Creator Revenue

One of Musk’s main priorities is to offer creators revenue—something the platform has historically struggled to do. Musk has announced that a content moderation council will be formed, with widely diverse viewpoints, and no decisions about content or account reinstatements will be made before that council convenes. 

The new CEO wants to allow creator monetisation for all forms of content. Despite Musk’s determination to push out new features and content ASAP, it’s likely we won’t see any impact in creator revenue streams for a few weeks. 

Pay to Play Long-Form Video

Twitter is currently exploring the option of a paywalled video, which would allow Twitter creators to charge a fee to let people watch a long-form video on the platform. 

When a creator composes a tweet with a video, they will be presented with the option to enable the paywall once the video has been added to the tweet. They will be given a range of preset prices, including $1, $2, $5, or $20. This new feature will facilitate direct revenue for creators. 

This addition leans into another idea Twitter considered in the past, but shied away from: monetising adult content. Twitter once explored this, following the OnlyFans style of paid subscriptions, with Twitter keeping a share of the revenue. 

The idea was shelved because Twitter’s systems couldn’t identify child sexual exploitation and non-consensual nudity, so the platform was at risk of inadvertently profiting from illegal material. However, it seems as if Musk is willing to give this another go. 

Monetised pay to play videos is a great way for Twitter creators to earn, and brands could offer masterclasses or exclusive content to fans. 

Until Twitter’s new policies are crystal clear, potential NSFW content could be a risk to brands. Brands likely don’t want to associate themselves with this content by being placed next to it in an ad placement. 

The Return of Vine?

Twitter bought Vine in 2012, and shut it down in 2016, leaving many Vine fans upset. Musk has reportedly instructed Twitter engineers to work on a Vine reboot that could be ready by the end of the year. 

Twitter has introduced various video features over the years, including a TikTok-ified video feed, but reviving Vine could give the platform and creators somewhere to sit apart from general Twitter conversations. Not only that, but Vine could genuinely be competition for TikTok. 

The main difference between Vine and TikTok (in its initial stages) is that TikTok is run by an algorithm, and Vine relied on a user’s social follows. Given the sheer amount of algorithmic content users are presented across multiple platforms, we could be entering a period of algorithm fatigue. 

Tumblr has seen explosive growth recently and it’s driven by a chronological timeline. Despite an abundance of “Recommended” content on Instagram, the platform brought back a timeline option for users to view content chronologically. 

Vine-style content (AKA the OG short-form) has proven to be popular even past its closure. Twitter has the potential to look at TikTok’s success and identify the key areas that are missing improvement, and make them before TikTok does. 

In addition to this, it would act as another advertising route and monetisation option for creators. Vine was shut down due to the lack of monetisation options for the company and creators. It has a rare chance now to change this. 

Vine is likely to be reinstated as a Twitter feature update, rather than a standalone app. It’s possible it could return as an updated Fleets (visible at the top of the timeline) or it could have its own home in the tab bar (similar to Spaces). 

While the majority of changes are still waiting to be released, it’s clear that major changes are coming to the platform. And fast. Driven by his dedication to ‘free speech’ and diversity of thought, the biggest changes will be cultural. 

Our Influencer marketing agency and Social agency are located worldwide, with our agency network based in the USA, UK, UAE and China.

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@ Socially Powerful

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James Hacking

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Socially Powerful, founded in 2017, stood as pioneers of the influencer marketing industry. Today we are a global social marketing agency and technology company.

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