Recent twitter entries...

Twitter's Coo's miss the bear on the pay model

Today Twitter announced that it will be providing commercial accounts with, "access to analytical tools and ways to gain feedback from their followers."

Make me a better Tweeter? Really? I'm gonna pay for that? Really?

How many social media blogs offer free advice on how to tweet better can I access via Google?

As a struggling new media journalist semi-cum social media strategist I am familiar with the frustration and resulting overall sense of impending doom that comes with daily contemplation of the ever elusive pay model. Twitter is new media. Journalism is being transformed in a way such that it's inexorably linked with new media. New media is many things, including and perhaps most importantly free access to information. In that sense both the outcome of journalism's transformation and the way in which Twitter aids journalism-- access and transfer of information--must remain free.

Twitter has missed the bear, but only slightly, in its proposed pay model. Commercial accounts are a good idea but in a different sense of the word: those that could afford to pay for them, should. The BBC, for example, the Huffington Post, Wholefoods, restaurants, Starbucks--basically, anybody that's got anything to sell. When I read " commercial accounts" that's what I thought: commercial, not pay for a how to tweet service. I'm sick of picking up 5-10 real estate agent followers, for example, every time I tweet a keyword. Keeping up with my followers list takes time. If Internet marketers want to follow me to glean my buying habits, make them pay for it!

But how do we keep this fair for start-ups? Free limited time or private income disclosure or an honour system. Coffee shop honour systems work remarkably well. Most people in there with laptops are either freelancers or start-ups (or students) for whom money is scarce. I've worked enough "9-5"s in coffee shops to know the unwritten code: no stealing and watch some else's stuff when they get up to pee regardless of whether or not you're asked.

To recap: make people who can pay, do so and leave Twitter as a free information service for start-ups and citizens. Thus: Twitter employees make money, journalists can track breaking news and inform, and people who live under repressive regimes can still freely access information and transfer information. Everyone wins.

Missed the bear Tw' Oos? I think so.

Comments (1)

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