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.