How much would you pay to use Twitter? If it's nothing more than a tweeted GIF to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey of Starlord flipping the bird, then you and I are in the same boat.
But Jack is hoping others might be a little bit more generous towards his platform as, per CNN, "Twitter is actively exploring additional ways to make money from its users, including by considering a subscription model." Said Jack Dorsey to investors and other various dark lords of the Sith, "You will likely see some tests this year" of various approaches.
It's hard to know how to feel about this. Much like a colonoscopy or drugging your kids with Benadryl to get them to go to sleep, social media has become a necessary evil within our modern world. Yes, it has made us narcissists, destroyed journalism, and polarized the nation, but it finally gives you a way to chat with Nickelback so ... even?
Nah, there are some more good aspects. People are connected around the world. Social causes are better able to mobilize. It's a space that allows you to express yourself. But even acknowledging all of those things, I have never actively wanted to use the website so much as I felt hostage to it. I still find myself wondering every day if we're better off without social media, and that was under the assumption it was free. I mean, sure, they'll mine and sell our data, but my data isn't worth shit anyway. Go ahead and tell advertisers that I'm searching for "Pulp Fiction Russian Nesting Dolls." All my searches are aspirational. I haven't bought a consumer good since 2015. But to pay for this thing that I only use because the media landscape requires it? We might as well go back to buying newspapers. Please let us go back to having to buy newspapers.
Regardless, Jack Dorsey is convinced there are people who will pay money for Twitter. That, or he's desperate. Today, Twitter reported second-quarter ad revenues of $562 million, a 23% decrease compared to the same quarter from last year. Some major advertisers are also boycotting social media spends in solidarity with the racial justice protests happening around the country.
Unilever, a multi-million dollar spender on Facebook and Twitter, announced in a statement:
"Given our Responsibility Framework and the polarized atmosphere in the U.S., we have decided that starting now through at least the end of the year, we will not run brand advertising in social media newsfeed platforms Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the U.S. Continuing to advertise on these platforms at this time would not add value to people and society."
Luis Di Como, executive vice president of Unilever also added that, "Based on the current polarization and the election that we are having, there needs to be much more enforcement in the area of hate speech."
So Dorsey's move is to make up that missing revenue by charging the user base. Or, you know, he could just do a better job enforcing hate speech. Nah, better to try and implement some sort of Twitter+ with added features that presumably let you say whatever racist shit you want as long as you pay enough money. Said, Dorsey:
"We do think there is a world where subscription is complementary, where commerce is complementary, where helping people manage paywalls ... we think is complementary."
Wait, is he talking about a payment plan? Is that what he means by, "helping people manage paywalls?" Is Twitter going to be so expensive that I'm going to have to pay for it in installments? Nope. Nope. I'm out. I'm definitely out. If I miss out on enlightenment courtesy of Elon Musk, then so be it ...
But if Jack Dorsey thinks people are actually going to pay to use Twitter, then he's out of his mind.
Support Dan on Twitter while it's still free to do so.