Will Twitter Pay People To Tweet, Or Won’t They?

Occasionally someone from a large organization tweets me to tell me I have tweeted misinformation.

When the Wall Street Journal reported from the Web 2.0 summit in San Francisco:

 Costolo opened the door to sharing revenue with Twitter users that post interesting content on Twitter, though he said Twitter wouldn’t pay such “content producers” for each tweet they post. “Our thoughts are a little more nuanced,” he said, adding that Twitter would have a “narrow set of publishers we would do that with.” He didn’t elaborate further.

In “Twitter’s Thinking About Paying People to Tweet,” The Atlantic Wire said this about that:

The idea of paying people–pardon, content producers–to tweet isn’t completely outrageous. Various Twitter-based startups have been doing this kind of thing for a while.

But when I tweeted using the phrase “Twitter preparing to pay people to tweet” I received this complaint:

So imagine The New York Times comes to some arrangement with Twitter where they earn revenue from Twitter for being a content producer. Then one day they stop tweeting, and after a bit call Twitter to complain that they aren’t being paid any more. I can only imagine, as part of the call, that the Twitter representative would have to point out “You won’t get paid if you don’t tweet. We’re paying you to tweet.”

What Was Wrong With My Tweet?

I didn’t quote @DickC in my tweet, so Sean saying bringing that up is a bit off the mark. Is Twitter considering paying people who tweet (and not paying them if they don’t tweet) or not?

The “Twitter preparing to pay” part seems absolutely, 100% accurate, so the ” people to tweet” is likely what is at issue here. Perhaps “people” should be “content producers,” but, c’mon, we all get that a Twitter account can be handled by several people and be part of an organization.

And I didn’t say “for each tweet” or imply that. But if they don’t tweet, they won’t get paid, right?

Probably “pay people who do something we’ve established as worth paying for via their tweets” is more accurate. But I think everyone gets that you have to meet some conditions to get paid. Does anyone thing that they can tweet “123xyz” and get paid for it? So perhaps that is not clear, but I doubt there will be any confusion about that.

Maybe “some people” would have been better phrasing. Perhaps what Sean is concerned about is that I am implying that EVERYONE will be able to get paid. But some people right away began tweeting “pick me!” showing clearly that they didn’t think that just anyone would be able to get paid.

So I have left some things to be implied without stating them myself, but only things I don’t think people will be confused about.

Probably people will be disappointed that Twitter selects very few people/accounts to get paid. But in five years, I could imagine a LOT of “content producers” could get paid. Look at how YouTube has done it. They are opening up their paid program very widely, after a couple of years of testing it.

What say you, Sean? Will Twitter pay people who Tweet to Tweet?

UPDATE: Sean replied with a tweet that said “simple answer: No.

My interpretation: “Yes, but it’s complicated.”


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