New features for Twitter have been unveiled by the social media giant, including a controversial ‘Super Follow’ premium tweet update.
Twitter outlined a series of proposed changes to the platform during a presentation for analyst and investors on 25th February, and a few key talking points stole the limelight online.
The new Super Follow feature could allow users to charge followers for access to content. When released, the feature could mean premium ‘followers’ of an account will be given exclusive access to tweets or badges indicating their support of a specific account.
Another feature on the horizon is a subscription-based newsletter feature. In January, the company acquired newsletter service Revue in a move that some hailed as a positive step for engagement between users and news publications or individual journalists.
The proposed update has sparked intense debate on social media, with some users raising concerns over access to content and questioning users’ willingness to pay for access.
Tech evangelist and author, Theo Priestley, was less than enthused with the announcement.
*super logs off* https://t.co/ObmoP8fTXp
— Theo Priestley (@tprstly) February 25, 2021
In a follow up tweet, Priestley added: “This pandemic has been a bit of a reckoning for social media networks for me.
“Twitter is pretty much the last place I regularly log into, and with each stupid product decision like Fleets and Super Follows it’s fast becoming redundant.”
Conversely, supporters of the proposed change have argued it could offer new ways for content creators to engage with followers and generate revenue. For Twitter, the feature appears to be a move aimed at giving content creators more control over their content and dip its toe into subscription-based models.
In a tweet posted yesterday, user Greg Isenberg described the new feature as a “game changer” that will likely prove to be a “win for creators” and a “win for communities”.
Pay attention to Twitter “Super Follow”. It’s a game changer
– mint millionaires fast
– connect the disconnected
It’s a win for creators. A win for communities pic.twitter.com/sZdTNiaIAS
— GREG ISENBERG (@gregisenberg) February 25, 2021
Rival social media platform Facebook has its own payment features and subscription models which content creators can rely on, as does YouTube. In recent years, Patreon has led the way in this regard, with many creators and public figures using the site to offer exclusive, paid-for services and content for their followers.
Alongside the Super Follow announcement, Twitter revealed it is exploring the introduction of a Communities feature similar to Facebook’s own ‘Groups’ function.
This proposed change would see users able to create or join groups catered to their own hobbies, interests or tastes.
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Twitter suggested that this will allow users to access more relevant content and improve user experience. Facebook’s Groups feature has been a mixed bag for the social media network.
While they have enabled users to join relevant communities and engage with likeminded users, recent scandals surrounding the spread of misinformation and abusive content on Facebook have centred around groups, with critics arguing that they offer a haven for hate speech and questionable content.
Exact details of when these new features could be coming to the platform are unknown, but changes certainly are afoot. Twitter’s most recently sizable feature update saw the introduction of the ‘Fleets’ function similar to Snapchat or Instagram stories.
Additionally, Twitter is currently beta-testing its new ‘Spaces’ function. This audio chatroom featured sounds similar to the popular Clubhouse app.