Elon Musk, the newly self-crowned chief twit, seems to have lots of ideas to wring every last red cent out of Twitter users. My dude is turning Twitter into the Spirit Airlines of social media platforms.
Musk seems poised to crack open users’ wallets at every turn, or at least make the attempt. Some of his ideas seem…farfetched, let’s say. The very online billionaire floats ideas on a whim. His very purchase of Twitter, and the underlying will-he-won’t-he-what’s-next saga is indicative of that.
I wrote last week, as Musk courted advertisers right after he purchased Twitter, that he was running into the realities that come with actually owning his favorite social platform. It’s like a dude who loves partying that buys a bar and then realizes he signed up to clean all day, deal with drunks, and make razor thin profits, at best.
Musk seems to have realized that Twitter struggles to make money, and now that’s his burden. It’s no longer an ~*EpiC JoKe~* he can post about but not have to concern himself with. It’s his reality. In other words, Musk is quickly rising up the y-axis on the fuck around/find out chart.
So now he’s floating monetization scheme after monetization scheme, which we decided to rank on a completely useless scale of likely/less likely/pipe dream/late night toilet tweet. And, to be clear, I am operating with no inside knowledge, I do not have an MBA, and Musk is the kind of guy who will…do anything. So make of this what you will.
Courting advertisers: Likely
OK, I’m cheating by starting with this one. It isn’t really a monetization scheme, but it is literally how Twitter makes almost all of its revenue. So Elon kowtowing to advertisers is really the monetization scheme. If he wants to keep the platform alive, then he has to keep advertisers happy.
$20 for verification: Pipe Dream
Elon Musk, the richest man alive, really wanted to charge folks $20 per month — $240 per year — for verification through Twitter Blue. The internet quickly and swiftly told him to pound sand. It ain’t happening…at least not for that price.
That’s more than HBO Max, Netflix, freakin’ anything to which you subscribe. This won’t happen because you’d have to be an extreme dingus to pay that much for a stupid little blue check.
…OK FINE, $8 for verification: Less likely
Perhaps because acclaimed author Stephen King got pissed, Musk lowered his Twitter Blue/verification price-tag to $8 per month. In my humble opinion, that is still eight bucks too many for a blue check, but Musk does seem committed to the idea. He tweeted that the $8 Blue subscription would come with verification, priority in replies, and other features.
He hasn’t backed off the idea, and continues to post about it. He seems to think it’ll help Twitter make money and somehow also discourage bots and spammers. I’m not so sure it’ll do either of those things, but that doesn’t mean Musk won’t do it.
So yeah, maybe a blue check will cost $8 per month in the future. I suspect lots of folks, like myself, will just…hand over the verification. First, because it’s a dumb thing to pay for, and second, because you’d have to be a total dweeb to pay for verification. Musk seems to fundamentally misunderstand verification — it absolutely does not make you cool or a “lord.” And paying for it would be the online equivalent of just asking to get shoved into a locker in high school.
Anyway, he still might do it.
Paywalling video: Less likely
This is a tough one. It’s not definitely happening but it seems possible.
The Washington Post reported, citing an internal email, that Musk’s Twitter is pushing to roll out a feature called “Paywalled Video.” It’s considered high-risk internally, however, especially since it’s a feature likely to be used for adult content.
Essentially users could post paywalled video, Stripe would process the payment, and Twitter would take a cut.
It might not happen if it’s deemed too risky, but reporting suggests this one is actually in the works.
Zombie Vine: Pipe dream
So Musk has floated bringing back the beloved short-form video app previously owned and ran by Twitter. He even publicly asked famous YouTuber Mr. Beast for advice. It’s not really a monetization scheme — at least not as obvious as charging for a blue check — but it would obviously be aimed at making money. After all, Musk seems dead-set on charging for everything that’s “free.”
Mashable’s Christianna Silva did a great job explaining, in detail, why it’s a bad idea to bring Vine back. In short: The creators who defined it have aged and moved on. Also TikTok exists. There’s no community to offer with Vine, which is what made it beloved in the first place.
Musk would surely run into obstacles trying to bring Vine back in any real way. When it was reported that Musk had Twitter engineers dig into Vine’s code, a former employee dished out some reality.
“This code is 6+ years old. Some of it is 10+,” Sara Beykpour wrote on Twitter. “You don’t want to look there. If you want to revive Vine, you should start over.”
That sounds like a headache. A headache that won’t happen.
Charging for complaints: Late night toilet tweet
Knowing his ideas aren’t all that popular in at least some circles, Musk tweeted: “To all complainers, please continue complaining, but it will cost $8.”
To be clear, this is a joke.
But hey, we needed at least one “late night toilet tweet.” And it’s indicative of how Musk operates. He’s shitposting his way through running Twitter.