The construct of social media was always meant to be a digital platform where everyone's voices were heard equally. But, human beings always find a way of introducing bias, segregation and prioritisation into technology.
Nowadays, only the popular celebrities, influencers, and politicians get a voice on social media, where they are worshipped like gods. There are the odd cases where unknown people go viral for doing something ridiculous on social media.
Which brings us to this article. Yesterday Twitter announced the roll out of their new Twitter Blue subscription service which gives you the blue verification tick for just $7.99. When Elon Musk suggested this on social media, he got a lot of pushback. Needless to say, there was a lot of pushback from the privileged 1% who had benefited from having a verified account status in the past.
We can only imagine that other social media platforms are looking at Twitter Blue with a keen eye. If it works, it could mean billions of dollars in additional revenue, not just for Twitter, but for other social media platforms who decide to adopt the same approach.
Historically, social media companies fleece billions of dollars off small businesses for advertising, and these companies get very little return on investment (ROI), for it. The bigger brands tend to benefit more from advertising on social media, because they can afford to run longer campaigns, which is needed to get ROI.
Only the one percent get visibility on social media. The 99% either have to pay a fortune for advertising, pay an influencer or do a dance routine with the hopes of going viral. With Twitter Blue subscription, small businesses and Entrepreneurs can hopefully bridge that gap. The tagline for Twitter Blue is literally "power to the people". Although, I would be weary of this because, normal people won't want to pay $8 just to get their voices heard. So that gap remains, but SMEs and Entrepreneurs would sure benefit from Twitter Blue subscription. It increases their brand credibility, recognition and possibly, brand visibility.
Downside of Twitter Blue Subscription
It might adulterate the Twitter brand if every Tom, Dick and Harry has a verified account with a blue tick. Ideally, the Twitter Blue subscription should only be made available to businesses or people that actually have a need for credibility.
It could legitimise fake profiles and encourage scam and spam, on a wide scale.
It could legitimise right wing hate speech or left wing bias ideologies.
Downsides or not, one thing is for certain, the existing account verification processes are bias. Take Twitter for example. Their old verification process included requests such as, having a Wikipedia page or, providing a Google Trend link as evidence that people searched for you online. Other bias requirements included "being notable". The purpose of an account verification exercise is to validate a person's or business' identity. Notability and popularity shouldn't factor into the decision to verify an account. Notability and popular don't define the value proposition offered by a busines or an individual on Twitter.
To conclude. If the Twitter Blue subscription works, it would almost certainly spell the end to conventional account verification processes, across social media platforms. It could also see Entrepreneurs and small businesses grow their brand credibility, recognition and visibility, through Twitter. Unfortunately, Twitter Blue doesn't resolve the lack of visibility problem, regular Twitter users face. To be clear, this is a global problem with social media, not just Twitter.
New social media companies like Mastodon and WeAre8 are propping up with promises to address the deficiencies of traditional social media. This includes the traditionally bias algorithms that limit the visibility of content produced by regular social media users, to drive up advertising revenue.
We foresee the social media landscape changing significantly, with next gen social media startups bringing in a more user centred operating model, that gives the power to the people, and not just celebrities, businesses or popular individuals.
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