Currently, Twitter makes money by shoving “Promoted Tweets” into user’s streams, ostensibly using an algorithm to segment the users into those who might be interested in a particular toot and those who might not (though, this system seems ham-fisted at best). They also have a hashtag sponsorship thingie. I’m not sure what these things cost or if Twitter is creeping toward profitability as a result, but both are a smidge annoying.
I think I have a better way: Paid Accounts.
I’m certainly not the first schmo to come up with such an idea, but see if you think this isn’t stupid.
Some tiny amount of money per month—let’s say $2—would give you the ability to do the following:
- Retweet more than twice per day.
- Mute followers, hashtags or clients for a definite or indefinite period of time (just like Tweetbot does today).
- See any user’s follower/following counts.
- View, search and export your entire tweet archive (going back to the beginning).
- Access to the API and Search-based RSS feeds.
An explanation of the thought process behind each of these:
The Retweet Thing
This feature should be used sparingly and it’s not. Some folks go buckwild crazy with this and, most of the time, it’s annoying. Everybody gets two free retweets per day, but you should have to pay more to get any more than that.
Muting users is lame because it’s effectively the same as no longer following them, but we all follow a certain number of people because if we didn’t, we’d hear about it and it would become a thing. Muting in Tweetbot gets the job done, though.
Muting annoying clients (like Tweet Old Posts and Paper.li) is one of my favorite things about Tweetbot. Ditto for hashtags. I may love you like a brother, but I’m not interested in hearing every clever quip you hear uttered at the conference you’re attending.
People would use the crap out of this if Twitter offered it. And, I think, many users would pony up a couple bucks a month such a capability.
These little numbers are the metrics by which users judge one another. If you have lots of followers and follow few people, you’re good at Twitter or something. There are plenty of great Twitter users who fail this test, sadly. Offering access to this information as part of a premium Twitter account would go a long way toward leveling the playing field a bit (and putting some cheddar in Twitter’s pocket).
All of the Tweets
As I type this (and as far as I know), Twitter search only goes back in time about a week or so. If you use the API, you can access the most recent 3200 tweets in your personal archive. By charging folks money, they could (I’m assuming) build out their infrastructure such that paid users could pull down a complete archive of their lunch- and poop-related updates.
You know how when you say “iPad” on Twitter, many times you’ll immediately receive a reply from somebody who wants you to click their link to maybe just maybe win a free iPad? All that stuff is done by crawling the RSS feeds for a specific search term or by using Twitter’s API. I have a feeling that if using these features cost the user something (anything, really), you’d notice a precipitous dip in the annoying spammy business.
Most serious Twitter users would be happy to pay a couple of bucks a month for such features, I think. I know I would. A system like this one would give “power users” a bit more “power” and weed out some of the nefarious characters at the same time.
Do you think this is dumb? Not dumb? Use Twitter to let me know.