Why Super Follows Is Getting Backlash on Twitter

Are you even listening?

Key Takeaways

  • Twitter will introduce a paid subscription service called Super Follows later this year.
  • Users will be able to subscribe to their favorite Twitter accounts for special access to unique content.
  • Most Twitter users wanted quality-of-life features like an edit button instead of more monetization on the platform.
Twitter's Super Follows feature and how it would appear on the mobile app

Experts say Twitter’s lack of response to community suggestions could help lead to a short lifespan for Super Follows.

Twitter recently announced the introduction of Super Follows, the ability to charge users a monthly subscription fee to access your content. While rewarding creators for their hard work is always a plus, experts say Twitter could face backlash for monetizing content instead of focusing on features the community has been requesting for years.

"Most actual users wanted an edit button before they wanted another way to give Twitter and influencers money directly," Jeff Ferguson, a partner at digital marketing agency Amplitude Digital, told Lifewire via email. "Twitter users are already the product that’s being sold to advertisers. The idea of paying to do something on this platform is off-book for Twitter."

Super Following

Super Follows is set to arrive later this year, and will allow users on the social media website to set up various paid subscription options. Once subscribed, you’ll be able to access various additions to that user’s content, including newsletters, community groups—another thing Twitter is currently testing—and even a badge that shows your support for that user.

"Traditionally, they've [Twitter's] been quite slow to innovate," Tim Hill, co-founder and CEO of Social Status, said via email. "I think this is a game-changing piece of functionality from Twitter."

"Most actual users wanted an edit button before they wanted another way to give Twitter and influencers money directly."

According to Hill, this feature would allow content creators—and just users who have amassed large followings on Twitter—to start monetizing their content without having to look into third-party applications like Patreon or Buy Me a Coffee. By putting it all under one subscription plan, Twitter could open the door for more creators to make more money. But not everyone is on the same page.

Others haven’t written the idea off altogether just yet.

"For me it really depends who and what is behind the paywall," Twitter user Billy Ruecker wrote in response to a poll about the new feature. "A more well-funded community, with research and deep level discussions? Ya I’d pay for that. Access to just get someone’s attention? Definitely not."

Is It Worth It?

There’s also a discussion to be had about how Twitter plans to break down the way content creators make money using Super Follows. With almost 80% of Twitter users on mobile, according to OmniCore, many users on Super Follows would most likely subscribe through the company's smartphone app.

Both Google and Apple take a 30% cut of any in-app subscription fees, with that percentage falling to 15% after the first year. This means content creators initially only would receive 70% of subscription revenue. Twitter has yet to reveal what kind of cut it will take from Super Follows, so that percentage likely would drop even more.

"Twitter, and maybe some influencers could benefit from this; however, if the latter really want to make money, they’re already doing it from direct deals with brands or via an OnlyFans account," Ferguson wrote.

Finger on the Pulse

Despite any negatives or positives surrounding Super Follows, users feel like Twitter isn’t listening to them.

"Come on dudes," user Bill0wnag3 wrote on Twitter. "No one asked for Super Follows. Give us our edit button. Or better yet; remove hashtags that are used for harassment." Others joined in, expressing their disappointment in Twitter’s recent feature unveilings, including both Super Follows and Fleets.

"Twitter users are already the product that’s being sold to advertisers."

If users feel like they're being ignored, they could be less likely to utilize a new feature like Super Follows, especially if it directly benefits Twitter financially. Unless Twitter makes Super Follows very appealing to both content creators and users, and starts more effectively listening and communicating with the community, experts see the feature having a very short lifespan.

"It’s going to fail miserably," Ferguson wrote. "Look for this to get sunsetted in under a year."

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