For the first time, Twitter is about to charge a subscription

24 Mar 2017

Image: natabnn/Shutterstock

Twitter hatches a plan for a paid subscription model for TweetDeck, which will have its long-time users aflutter.

Twitter has confirmed it is considering a paid TweetDeck subscription model with some extra bells and whistles.

The plan to introduce a fee may well put the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons.

‘We’re exploring several ways to make TweetDeck even more valuable for professionals’

Twitter, which has roughly 320m users, is struggling to attract enough advertising to turn a profit, so the social media company is turning to its popular TweetDeck interface, which helps users make sense of the busy highway of tweets.

It is understood that Twitter is planning to offer an enhanced version of TweetDeck, with new analytical and signalling tools such as alerts.

It said that a survey of users has received favourable feedback.

“We regularly conduct user research to gather feedback about people’s Twitter experience and to better inform our product investment decisions, and we’re exploring several ways to make TweetDeck even more valuable for professionals,” Twitter said in an email to selected users.

“This premium tool set will provide valuable viewing, posting and signalling tools like alerts, trends and activity analysis, advanced analytics, and composing and posting tools – all in one customisable dashboard.

“It will be designed to make it easier than ever to keep up with multiple interests, grow your audience, and see even more great content and information in real time,” Twitter added.

A bird never flew on one wing

But will a paid subscription model work for Twitter?

Twitter acquired TweetDeck in 2011 during a spree that saw it also take popular apps such as Tweetie under its wing.

Within two years, however, Twitter began to shut down the TweetDeck mobile apps and also cut off integration with other social media platforms.

For Twitter to make a paid TweetDeck service make sense, it may need to go back to the drawing board and revive some of those earlier services.

It also means that Twitter will be taking on players such as Hootsuite and SocialFlow, sparking a new kind of social media war and threatening these businesses’ very strengths.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years