Update: I definitely jumped the gun with this one 🙂 It *is* meant to be a joke. Thanks god.
I hope this is a joke. A bit sounds like it, but it might be still true. I am really hoping it’s not!
The news (“Twitter Unveils New Premium Accounts“) is spreading like wildfire on twitter right now, making it impossible to even guess who retweeted who, but that doesn’t really matter anyway. What matters is that everyone in twitterverse is talking about it right now. I really do hope it’s just a scam, because I don’t like the idea at all… here’s why:
- Raising the character limit – (this is the part that makes me think/hope it’s a scam) I believe twitter’s success is partly because of the ‘do less’ scheme. If you look at jaiku, plurk, pownce and a ton of other failed (or let’s put it like this: not as successful as twitter by a wide margin) microblogging services, who hoped to differentiate themselves from twitter (also) by adding a ton of other features twitter doesn’t have, didn’t succeed. I (and I believe I am talking for the most of the twitter users out there) love the service exactly because it’s a no-brainer: you have to squeeze some interesting information into 140 chars. That’s it. The story ends here.
There are plenty of third party apps (several hundreds when I last checked) that add this or that on top of twitter, some of them actually very good. That’s a win for everyone: you can choose which service to use (often multiple sites are competing for the same type of service – competition is always a good thing!). Modularity is a good thing – not to mention that great services (like search, a.k.a. summize) are integrated into twitter later anyway.
- Messing it up – you get random followers?!?! Why is that? I am already annoyed by the ‘quest for numbers’ “feature” of twitter – totally unrelated people following each other just to bump their follower count. This is kind of understandable, as the follower count is viewed as an universal number of influence/power on twitter, but still, why should you push information to people (or consume the information they are pouring onto you) if you are not in the same niche/field/market? This sounds really crazy.
Anyway, how will those 20/100/1000 random followers be chosen? Will they accept that they have to follow someone? Bullshit meter +1. This really smells like hoax.
- Elitism – the same concerns as with Kevin Rose’s latest brainchild, wefollow.com – the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. Invisible (and possibly otherwise great) people will remain undiscovered Good Will Huntings for good, while users already boasting thousands (or much more than that) followers will climb to even more higher places. How is this good for a community as a whole??!
- Price – this is basically the B variant of “Elititsm”. Open source enthusiasts, students, researchers, a big part of developers (the group I am personally interested in) and a lot of others (you surely have a similar group with other interests) won’t be willing (and able to in some cases) to pay the $15/$50/$100 monthly fee – it’s just too much. $5 is OK for everyone, but that doesn’t buy you nearly anything. The other premium levels are just too much for most of people, again just pushing the elite to higher places.
I have a ton of other points, but the more and more I think about it, I seriously think this is a SCAM. I really love twitter and hope they’ll have a solid business model and will make a ton of money sooner or later, but please not this way. I am not even against premium accounts, or just paying a sensible monthly fee – would surely do that – but please stay with the roots and don’t promote elitism. Khtxbai!