On Twitter Analyst Day 2021, the company announced a number of new features that will allow influencers to monetise their audience on the platform. Following newsletters, a long-form content service dedicated to support writers, and ‘Super Follow’, a payments feature that will allow users to charge followers for exclusive content, Twitter is now all set to test ‘Tip Jar’—a monetisation feature that will let you tip your favourite users for their tweets.
Tip Jar was initially announced by app researcher Jane Manchun Wong as an exclusive feature for Twitter Spaces—Twitter’s ‘Clubhouse copy’ of audio chat rooms—in March. All set to move out from the settings menu of Spaces, the tipping feature will be supposedly incorporated into a button on the top right corner of a user’s profile.
Symbolising a stack of blue notes, the button will list payment options via Bandcamp, Cash App, Patreon, PayPal and Venmo upon tapping. Users will then be redirected to enter their usernames on the payment platforms of their choice to complete the transactions.
However, this is just one iteration of how the feature would work. In another series of tweets, Wong helped users visualise how Twitter’s Super Follow button would work. Highlighting the platform’s efforts in making its colour scheme monochromatic while using a new font altogether, the screenshots showed a black Tip Jar button instead of a blue one—proof that the feature is still in its initial testing phase.
“We’re rethinking incentives and exploring solutions to provide monetary incentive models for creators and publishers to be directly supported by their audience,” Twitter wrote in its presentation for Analyst Day. Although Dantley Davis, Twitter’s Head of Design and Research, announced the platform’s efforts in “exploring solutions for tipping” as a result, the Tip Jar feature in particular is yet to be officially announced.
Despite the uncertainty of the feature, however, the screenshots shared by Wong seems to have evoked mixed responses from users on the platform. While a majority believe the monetisation feature would help creators make some much-deserved dough, a niche ponder upon the Tip Jar’s potential on shaping public opinion—given the fact that Twitter is one of the most popular hubs for self-expression.
While some believe the Tip Jar “might wreck Twitter” by making it a competitive platform and fostering breeding grounds for “undesirable opinion,” others hope that the feature would be gated in some way to prevent this mishap—perhaps requiring users to have a certain number of followers or be verified on the platform to avail the feature.
Be it for the better or worse, Twitter’s upcoming monetisation features could drastically change the way users interact with the platform. While Clubhouse has already gotten a headstart with its own tipping feature, Twitter would be quick to catch up—given its pledge to double annual revenue to over $7.5 billion in 2023. “We’ve also been evolving the product in more transformational ways, solving bigger problems for our customers, and moving way faster than we had before,” Davis concluded during the presentation.
Amassing global fame worth $1 billion in under a year, the social audio app Clubhouse has now launched ‘Clubhouse Payments’, a built-in monetisation feature where users can pay creators for the shows they host on the platform. The app, describing itself as “a new type of social product based on voice that allows people everywhere to talk, tell stories, develop ideas, deepen friendships, and meet interesting new people around the world,” introduced the feature as “first of many” that allows creators to get paid directly on the platform.
“As Clubhouse continues to scale, it’s important to us to align our business model with that of the creators—helping them make money and thrive on the platform,” the company mentioned in a blog post. Introduced with the aim “to help creators build community, audience, and impact,” the feature will be rolled out in waves, starting with a small test group. Clubhouse will then “collect feedback, fine-tune the feature, and roll it out to everyone soon.”
Although the list of currencies and payment methods are not exclusively mentioned, Clubhouse says its creators will get 100 per cent of the payment with no commissions or fees imposed by the platform.
To start off, creators will have to enable the Clubhouse Payments feature on their profile. Once enabled, a “Send Money” button pops up on their profile. Other users can then head over to their favourite creator’s profile and tap on the button. The exact amount they want to send can be entered into the pop-up which follows. The platform then registers the debit/credit card information of first-time users to redirect them into the payment outlet.
100 per cent of the payment would then go to the creator. However, the user sending the money will be charged a “small card processing fee” which will go directly to Clubhouse’s payment processing partner, Stripe. “Clubhouse will take nothing,” the blog post clarified.
Over the past year, Clubhouse has undoubtedly lost steam among criticisms over reports of misogyny, anti-semitism and COVID-19 misinformation on the platform—despite its own rules against racism, hate speech, abuse and false information.
Although the platform witnessed a global surge in users following Elon Musk’s series of tweets, the effect was short-lived as the platform failed to retain hosts and creators with proper incentives. The fact that almost every tech giant is trying to build a Clubhouse rival at the moment does not help its case either. Be it Facebook with its Clubhouse copy “in early stages of development,” Twitter with its Spaces or even LinkedIn with its “creator” mode, all of these big names could undoubtedly sabotage Clubhouse’s audience. Also bear in mind that Clubhouse is still limited to iOS, further restricting its userbase.
These factors essentially create a sense of urgency where features like Clubhouse Creator First—a creator acceleration programme which will take on 20 aspiring hosts and creators to help them build their audiences and monetise their shows—clubbed with its latest direct payments feature might just prove to be the way forward, by engaging creators with the right incentive to create high-quality content on the platform.