As Twitter continues to work on its evolving creator monetization tools, it's now testing a new profile display count for 'Super Followers', which would provide a quick overview of how many paying subscribers each user has on the platform.
As you can see in this screenshot, posted by reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong, the new 'Super Followers' count would be shown alongside your regular Followers number, which could help to inspire more people to also sign-up to become paying subscribers to your tweets and extra content.
Twitter's coming Super Follow option will provide creators with another way to generate direct income from their on-platform efforts, by charging a monthly fee to give fans access to a range of additional content and engagement features.
As you can see in this example from Twitter's recent Analyst Day presentation, by signing-on for, say, $4.99 per month, Super Followers would be given expanded access to newsletters, exclusive content (like private Spaces) and member discounts on merchandise or other products. That, ideally, will provide more incentive for creators to build communities of paying subscribers on Twitter, which will help Twitter maintain a steady flow of exclusive content, and also keep more fans coming back to the platform more often, helping to build engagement.
The rise of TikTok, coupled with the impacts of the pandemic, has pushed all platforms to re-assess their creator monetization options, as a means to both protect their audience and provide direct revenue tools for creators and artists who have been impacted by global lockdowns and other mitigation efforts. Given this, the addition of Super Followers makes sense - though it is a little surprising to see Twitter add another follower count listing on profiles, given CEO Jack Dorsey's aversion to the current Follower display as it stands.
Back in 2018, in a fireside chat session in India, Dorsey explained that he wanted to de-emphasize follower counts, because it no longer reflected the right focus for social media engagement.
As explained by Dorsey:
"So when you open Twitter and you see that [follower count] number is five, it's actually incentivizing you to increase that number. That may have been right 12 years ago, but I don't think it is right today. I don't think that's the number you should be focused on. I think what is more important is the number of meaningful conversations you're having on the platform."
Dorsey further explained that by focusing on follower count growth, that could play a part in seeing people post more polarizing content, like partisan political posts and/or misinformation, as that type of content has increased potential to go viral. In doing so, that would then help users get more exposure for their accounts, and subsequently attract more followers. In effect, that could mean that by emphasizing follower counts, it actually causes more toxic and divisive behavior on the platform as a result.
Based on this, Twitter also began working on how to dilute that emphasis, first, by reducing the size of the font for the follower count number on user profiles.
It's a small change, in relative terms, but it was a first step in moving away from traditional social media metrics, and ideally, towards a newer metric or display, which, in Dorsey's words, emphasized 'meaningful conversations', like replies to your tweets and discussions you've taken part in.
But we haven't seen much more on this. And now, Twitter's actually adding a whole new follower count display.
I mean, in this context, the emphasis is different, in that Super Follows actually has a more distinct purpose. By highlighting the amount of paying subscribers a user has, that could help that user attract more Super Followers - if you see that this person already has 1,000 people willing to pay for their extra content, that could be enough to get you to also sign-up, as those subscribers must be getting something worth paying that extra money for.
Incentivizing more Super Followers also serves a more practical purpose in this sense, and is less likely to lead to negative behaviors as a result. But still, it seems interesting that Twitter was looking to move away from this, now it's shifting back towards it.
It makes sense, but it's an interesting observation either way.
Twitter is still working out the details of its coming subscriber tools, and how it can integrate new options like newsletters, ticketed Spaces, eCommerce links, and more. But from the looks of this example, it's getting closer to the next stage, which will be a big shift for the platform, and could have a significant impact on how users interact within the app.
We'll keep you updated on any progress.