Why Twitter's Offering a Subscription Weather News Service

It seems strange and is both more and less than you expect

Key Takeaways

  • Twitter has partnered with meteorologist Eric Holthaus’s weather news service, Tomorrow.
  • Tomorrow uses Twitter’s paid subscription tools: Spaces, Ticket Spaces, and Revue.
  • Twitter could become a trusted news source.
Orange, purple, and gray storm clouds dumping rain onto the planes as the sun sets.

NOAA / Unsplash

Twitter’s Tomorrow is a new paid service for news about…local weather?

At first glance, this seems, at the same time, both weird and perfectly sensible. And on further investigation, local weather news is the perfect way for Twitter to showcase its new paid publishing and subscription tools. while pushing its lead as the place to go for breaking news and discussion.

"Twitter wants to start diversifying its income with subscription revenue services, and weather content is very marketable," Dennis Hancock, the president and CEO of Mountain Valley MD, told Lifewire via email.

"TV stations are cutting traditional weather jobs as their money runs low, leaving a gap in meteorology and plenty of talent to fill it. The new weather model will involve contractual hiring for weather experts for drop-in weather chats and Q and As."

What Is Tomorrow?

Tomorrow is a place to get news about your local weather. It’s a partnership between Twitter and meteorologist Eric Holthaus, and is not a Twitter feature. Rather, Tomorrow is Holthaus’ weather service, built using Twitter’s new tools.

Twitter gets credibility and a showcase for its paid subscription features.

It will publish on Revue, the paid newsletter service that Twitter bought recently. Then, you can discuss the weather on Twitter, as usual, and ask questions of the meteorologists that create Tomorrow. Initially, member questions will be done via email. 

There will be free posts, but the real point here is that you pay $10 per month to subscribe. This subscription includes the aforementioned direct access to the creators, as well as access to Spaces. Spaces is Twitter’s answer to Clubhouse, a live audio meeting space.

Because all of these paid publishing tools are new to Twitter, the offering seems a little confusing right now. But really, it’s a regular weather news service, only it’s interactive, and it runs on Twitter. 

One Trusted Source

So, what’s in this for Twitter? Why did it partner with Tomorrow? Well, for one, it’s not unusual for a platform provider to partner with high-profile creators. Spotify gave a kick to its audio program offering by paying podcaster Joe Rogan to switch to the platform. The newsletter service Substack has paid several writers to join up, including a $250,000 deal with former Vox writer Matt Yglesias. 

An artists rendition of a tornado destroying a structure in a small community by a railroad tracks.

NOAA / Unsplash

Let’s consider what people use Twitter for. Sharing things and then discussing them. That’s it, more or less. Humans are also predisposed to talk about the weather. The Tomorrow weather channel, then, has universal appeal right out of the gate. 

Twitter, along with Facebook, also has a trust problem. These are the places where fake news spreads, and neither of these dominant social networks is trusted or even considered credible by many.

And yet, we still go directly to Twitter whenever we want to know about breaking news. In Tomorrow, Twitter gets to be a trusted source rather than a cesspit of conflicting truths and lies. Imagine if Twitter could actually be trusted. 

"I think that people in Sonoma County, Napa, and the Bay Area would possibly pay for a service to keep them updated on fire-related Tweets from reliable sources," writer and marketer Shana Bull told Lifewire via email.

"One problem during many of the past few years of fires is that there is a lot of misinformation online, and people want just one trusted source to go to for the latest information. Sometimes Twitter is the fastest for info, but not the most reliable."

Perfect Fit

So, Twitter gets credibility and a showcase for its paid subscription features. Meanwhile, Eric Holthaus and his team get a paying platform and can build it up from there. And Twitter offers a unique space for discussion and for building on that.

"TV stations are cutting traditional weather jobs as their money runs low, leaving a gap in meteorology and plenty of talent to fill it."

"The community isn’t purely weather-based information and will offer great resources for climate activists, too," says Hancock. "Rather than an informative resource, Tomorrow will offer a social community."

It looks like this partnership is all upside, and it could be. But there’s one more thing that Twitter brings to the relationship: Trolls. If climate activism is on the table, then climate-change deniers will soon start buzzing around. This may be the true test of Twitter’s new paid subscription tiers. How well can a community flourish on Twitter if the trolls are kept outside the paywall? The answer might be pretty positive.

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