Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has revealed that the social network is exploring ways of letting users receive digital payments from their followers. The addition, should it be implemented, would signal yet another free digital platform looking to provide financial incentives for its users.
Details are thin on the ground currently but giving Twitter users with large followings the ability to receive tips in exchange for well-received content would change the platform’s dynamics markedly. There has even been talk of introducing content subscriptions to help Twitter further diversify its income, with the social media site presumably taking a proportion of whatever payments users receive.
“I think the first thing we want to focus on is that economic incentive to people who are contributing to Twitter,” Dorsey told the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference, which is currently taking place virtually as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Although social media management tools can help businesses and individuals to measure what types of content drive the best engagement, there is currently no easy way of generating financial benefit directly from a popular social media post. Given that Twitter has around 192 million daily users and some tweets get shared millions of times, the platform’s most popular users may feel that the time is right to monetize their content.
Of course, Twitter will have to be careful that introducing such monetization features does not change the way current users interact with the platform too much. If LinkedIn is the go-to app for business networking, Twitter is often seen as a place for throwaway comments and informal discussion. Adding financial incentives into this mix too forcefully could put some users off.
Still, revenue diversification is being explored by many social media platforms, with TikTok also looking to enter the e-commerce space and Instagram recently revamping its business tools. Twitter has said, however, that it does not expect content subscriptions to make up a significant part of the company’s revenues until next year.
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Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with ITProPortal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services. After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.