After introducing the addition of Fleets late last year, Twitter has just announced a series of major new options with the social media platform. One new feature called Super Follows will let Twitter users charge followers for extra content, while Communities, which is essentially Twitter’s take on Facebook Groups.
The Super Follows function is a way for Twitter users to receive direct payment from followers who want more substantial content. In mock photos for Super Followers, as shown by The Verge, Super Follows offers a supporter badge, subscriber-only newsletters, exclusive content, community access, and deals and discounts. While the example shows a user offering services for $4.99 a month, it’s not clear if this is the decided pay point, or if Twitter users can make their own price point. It is also assumed that Twitter will take a portion of this money for the service as well. Another photo example shows a tweet that can only be viewed and responded to by Super Followers.
Communities is also a way for people to find like-minded individuals with the same interests. The examples shown included “#SocialJustice,” “Crazy for Cats,” “Plant Parents,” and “Surf Gurlz.” It’s not clear if Twitter is moderating these groups, creating them, or if like Facebook Groups, these are groups that any member can create and add members.
Twitter did not mention when these features will be coming to the social media platform, but the company did list these two features as “what’s next” in a presentation this afternoon. Yet with both Super Follows and Communities, it’s easy to see how the insular nature of social media could get increasingly worse with these developments.
While companies like Patreon, Facebook, and YouTube have offered ways for users to directly pay content creators, it’s unclear what paid content on Twitter will actually look like. With many businesses and news outlets already using Twitter to spread stories and information, could we see a lockdown on free news through Twitter? It’s possible that articles spread through social media could now have a price point attached for readers who want to read more.
As for Communities, it seems that this new feature would inherit many of the same problems and benefits that Facebook Groups have. While it will allow people to find like-minded individuals, Facebook Groups also has a hard time with moderation issues. Twitter’s Trending option has often been an unpredictable way of seeing what is popular in your interests on Twitter, but with groups, maybe this part of the social media platform will also be improved.
But it will be interesting to see how Twitter users take to these new developments. Fleets were first seen as a silly way of the company following in the footsteps of other social media platforms, but are now widely used. Similarly, it seems like Communities, and especially Super Follows, is being made fun of on Twitter today, yet who knows how long it will be before these features become a completely normal part of the Twitter experience?