Twitter recently launched Super Follows, a feature that allows select users to charge their followers for ‘subscriber’ content. Twitter describes the feature as a new way for people to earn monthly revenue by sharing subscriber-only content with their followers on the platform.
It also says people can create an extra level of conversation on Twitter to interact authentically with their most engaged followers — all while earning money.
At present, the company said, people in the US and Canada using iOS can Super Follow select accounts. The feature will be rolled out to people using iOS globally in the next few weeks. People will be able to see the exclusive content on Android as well soon.
Twitter launched another feature, Tips, that makes it easier for people to link their payment platforms such as Razorpay and GoFundMe.
While creators on platforms such as YouTube and Instagram have been using independent measures such as Patreon and Substack to earn partial revenues, will Twitter’s move have a real effect on the creator economy in India?
According to experts, even though platforms such as YouTube have been at the forefront when it comes to providing monetisation opportunities through ads and channel memberships, Twitter’s move will directly impact creators and influencers with large followings.
It will also allow creators to invest in time before making content specific to Twitter and improve the overall experience for users at large, they said.
“It is surely very motivating for creators and will provide them an additional way to create specific content for their regular followers and earn revenue. They will have to invest more time in planning and designing their content for the engaged audiences and ensure they continue delivering valuable content to keep the audience interested and continue their revenue flow. While it is very appealing, it will be a bit challenging too. Once they get the hang of it and are able to understand what the viewers want or like, it will be very beneficial,” said Manesh Swamy, Vice-President, Creative and Social, Logicserve Digital.
Siddharth Devnani, Co-Founder and Director at SoCheers, said, “We are glad to see Twitter offering a revenue facility to enable creators to run their business sustainably. This benefits largely the creators who have a sizeable following, as it does take a lot to convince a user to pay for premium content or to support a creator as a lot of this is available for free. The larger creators are likely to have some monetisation already in place with brand deals, etc. We'll wait and watch how this benefits the creator economy at large beyond the top creators.”
Super Follow will allow creators to earn beyond other platforms and hence Twitter will become a sought-after platform for clients and brands to amplify their campaigns, said Shuchi Sethi, India Lead, AnyTag.
“This feature will be more beneficial for conversationalist creators from genres such as investment, entrepreneurship, sustainable environment and will gradually be taken up by lifestyle and fashion. Considering Twitter is one of the most engaging platforms, content creators will be directly engaged with top brands and organisations, creating a community aiming to create a positive impact on society,” she said.
Keerthi Kumar, Group Account Director (South) FoxyMoron (Zoo Media) said many creators have successfully utilised the membership feature on YouTube and other social media platforms to create tailor-made content for regular followers. “They have moved towards creating content that results in rewards (monetary or otherwise), which incidentally keeps them motivated to continue with their efforts. Twitter's initiative will push more content creators to urge their followers in the direction of Super Follow to deliver better content, at an increased frequency; especially when users are willing to pay for more unique and value-driven content.”
How will it affect other creator-friendly platforms?
Experts suggest that while Twitter might not be the go-to space for influencers from mainstream genres such as fashion and lifestyle, it has a notable number of celebrities, authors, journalists, politicians, activists that engage with their audiences.
Asked how this could affect other platforms, Kumar said, “While formats and early-mover advantages are factors to look at for platforms such as YouTube, this does change the game for everyone. Content creators will prefer (and consequently work towards better content as well) the platform that gives them the option of earning more. Instagram is proactively looking at ways in which they can reward content creators on their platforms.”
According to Sethi, Twitter is a little late after Facebook, YouTube and Instagram to enter the monetisation space. A lot of creators, bloggers, journalists, etc., can earn on Twitter by posting opinions and research that will play a role in keeping Twitter’s subscription plans successful, she said.
The first mainstream originator of paid following was Patreon, which YouTube creators used for paid content while hosting free content on YouTube, Devnani said. He said Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are at the other end of helping creators to monetise as creators on these platforms usually depend on brand collaborations. “With Twitter's announcement, we can hope Zuck and team follow,” he said.
There are already reports about Instagram testing a new feature that can make stories exclusive to premium users, though it is yet to be confirmed if access to these stories would require some kind of subscription payment.