Twitter has launched two new features, Super Follows and Ticketed Spaces, that the company says will help creators make money off of their followers. Does this mean you could make a decent living using the social media app? Probably not, unless you already have a huge Twitter following eager to consume your content at a premium. Here’s a look at how the new features work.
Super Follows is kind of like Patreon, as it allows content creators to charge their followers $2.99, $4.99, or $9.99 per month for access to exclusive content. What that extra content might be is up to the creators, but it could take the form of bonus tweets, access to third party community groups, or a subscription to a newsletter.
Ticketed Spaces is meant to be a paid competitor to the audio-hangout app Clubhouse, and it will allow you to charge users between $1 and $999 to access exclusive audio rooms within Twitter. Technically, Spaces, which launched in beta last spring, already exists for users who have at least 600 followers; the “Ticketed” part is what’s new (and currently only open to a select few).
To access these features now, users need to have a lot of followers (10,000 for Super Followers, 1,000 for Ticketed Spaces), be active on Twitter, be 18 years of age, and live in the U.S. A full list of eligibility requirements for Super Follows can be found here, and for Ticketed Spaces, here. (If you qualify but aren’t accepted, you’ll be added to a waitlist until the services open up to more users, according to Twitter).
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You can see if you’re eligible for either Ticketed Spaces (available on iOS and Android) or Super Follows (iOS only) by logging into the mobile Twitter app and looking for the “Monetization” option in the left sidebar.
Twitter says they’ll only take a 3% cut of your possible earnings, but that bumps up to 20% if you make more than $50,000 on the site. That’s just to start, too—as Tech Crunch points out, both Google and Apple take an additional 30% cut for any in-app purchases on mobile-based platforms. And when you factor in federal and state taxes, that’s another 23% (on average) chunk of your remaining earnings. Assuming that you’re lucky enough to make $70,000 on Twitter, you’d see after-tax earnings of less than $30,000.
In contrast, Patreon only takes 5%-12% of a creator’s earnings, with no additional in-app purchase fees (since it’s a web-based platform). For that reason, it’s hard to not to see Super Follows as more of a glorified tip jar, rather than a direct competitor, at least for now.
As with the monetization tools offered by other social media platforms (from TikTok to Instagram), you’re not likely to make much money off these apps unless you’re a celebrity or already have a large following—and you will, of course, have to produce even more content to make the subscriptions worthwhile to your followers.
Plus, you have to assume that you’ll actually get paying subscribers, which is hardly guaranteed. Twitter assumes roughly 2% of your followers might be willing to pay for your tweets or other content, but that’s just a guess—the features are new, so there isn’t a lot of data to point to, and people just might not be willing to pay for Twitter. One might presume a popular web cartoon will do better than an account that’s mostly partisan snark, but who knows for sure? It’s Twitter.