As technology continues to advance, social media platforms are constantly looking for new ways to generate revenue. Recently, Twitter has been shifting its focus towards subscriptions, which has raised concerns about the impact on its users. In this article, we will explore Twitter’s new subscription-based model, its potential impact on users, and how it compares to other social media platforms.
Twitter’s Shift Towards Subscriptions:
In an effort to diversify its revenue streams, Twitter has been actively pursuing subscription-based models. This includes the recent acquisition of the newsletter platform, Revue, which allows users to monetize their content through subscriptions. Additionally, Twitter has been testing its own subscription service, called Twitter Blue, which offers features such as an “Undo Tweet” button and the ability to organize bookmarks.
Impact on Users:
While Twitter’s shift towards subscriptions may seem like a positive step towards generating revenue, it could have negative implications for its users. One concern is that Twitter may start prioritizing content from users who pay for subscriptions, leading to a two-tiered system where some users have an unfair advantage over others. Additionally, the introduction of subscription-based features could create a pay-to-win environment, where users who can afford to pay for premium features have an unfair advantage over those who cannot.
Comparison to Other Social Media Platforms:
Twitter is not the first social media platform to introduce subscription-based models. Facebook and LinkedIn, for example, both offer premium versions of their platforms for a fee. However, the impact of these models on users has been mixed. Some users have reported feeling left behind or excluded from certain features, while others have enjoyed the benefits of a premium membership.
In conclusion, Twitter’s shift towards subscriptions could have both positive and negative implications for its users. While it may provide a new revenue stream for the platform, it could also lead to an unfair advantage for those who can afford to pay for premium features. Ultimately, it remains to be seen how Twitter’s subscription-based model will impact its user base and whether it will prove to be a successful strategy for the platform’s continued growth.
In the beginning, Facebook started as a place to share ideas, connect with friends and family, and become the global hivemind, has now decayed into a cesspool of vitriol, hate, and unfettered biased judgement.
I’d like to assume we have all been there, “I don’t use it as much anymore. It’s just filled with people bashing on each other. I only keep it so I can stay connected with my family. How else is the family going to see pictures of the kids?” Among these examples, I’m sure there are a million others. It’s like the Dane Cook joke (probably stolen), where the female stays in her relationship with her beau because her cd’s are in his truck. Same principal for Facebook.
We all make excuses on why to keep things and you would think after the documentary “The Social Dilemma,” it would have convinced many more to unplug from “The Matrix.” All human minds and attention spans being harvested to appease stakeholders. Most of the evidence compelling people to abandon their digital lives were literally spelled out, spoon fed, in an easily digestible format. But like the drug-addicted mind, the masses kept going back for more, looking for the next dopamine hit.
There are movements in the name of unplugging. Countless bloggers, vloggers, streamers, and influencers whom are attempting to persuade people to leave the platforms and log out for good. I know not everyone fits in the criteria of jumping ship as they need their logins for work. Social Media managers, directors, and content developers/curators do have important roles to fill. Albeit contributing to the mass addiction. This post is definitively aimed at Facebook, but it can be said for any social platform.
Conversely, I do have hope that I hold onto, white-knuckled at that, in the good of social media. The benefits of positive social media by cutting through the white noise of the negative. There have been strides made to encourage and maintain a safe-space for Facebook users, but is commonly met with even more backlash and negativity. I would like to think Facebook does have the global mind in its best interests, but I have yet to see the paradigm shift.
Technology has advanced so fast, it literally has given older generations whiplash. Look to when any technology group or platform is required to go to congress. Most of the people in government lack the common knowledge to use their own “smart” devices, let alone, they probably still own a VCR. Similar to the medical field, technology has advanced so quickly, the majority of the world is running to catch up.
Maybe Facebook was put into the mainstream too fast, too soon. Maybe it should have remained on college campuses for a few more years to be perfected before handed to the likes of the world. I am curious if all this negativity was always in the world and platforms like Facebook provided these people and ideas with a digital soapbox. Or having this ability is what unleashed the keyboard cannon fodder.
The baseline to be questioned, what would your life be like without Facebook? Provided you don’t need it for work. When you open your phone, is the first application you go to a social platform, is it Facebook? Have we as a society been conditioned like Pavlov’s Dog to immediately be drawn to Facebook? Do we bite the hand that feeds? What would you consider the food Facebook provides you? Is it good for you? These are all critical questions we should be asking ourselves, instead of consistently increasing the MAU / DAU (monthly/daily active users) of Facebook to help line the pockets of shareholders.
In recent(ish) news Facebook was placed under scrutiny with earnings calls, essentially damaging the value of the stock ultimately losing Meta $230 Billion in a single day. This kind of loss is alarming, but at the end of the day, do you really think Mark Zuckerberg is concerned? Given his total value/worth, he can easily live the rest of his days without working another day.
Thinking back to the movie, “The Social Network,” if Mark Zuckerberg is anything like Jesse Eisenberg‘s portrayal of him and the conversations used in the movie are valid, Zuckerberg never wanted to create an advertising behemoth. Even further if this speculation is true, while the lavish luxuries are nice, there is a good chance Zuckerberg is looking for a way out. All contingent on if art imitates life.
Facebook has the foundation for good intentions, but leave it to humans to destroy something inherently beautiful. Humans have always been destructive, but now it seems even more so now that it is no longer physical. Destroying something digital needs to be that much more grand to satiate the thirst for demolition, at least in my assessment.
Ultimately, no one truly NEEDS Facebook, but after so many years using the platform it can be that much more scary to unplug. I have had the thoughts of unplugging and deleting my profile, but here we are, and it still lingers in my app drawer. I would like to think there are more positive social media advocates out there, but the battle is an uphill one and it seems not everyone is geared for the task. Until then, I’ll keep holding my breath until we have a perfect world and social media is used for its intended purity purpose and not just to tear everything down that doesn’t fit the deformed new status quo.
– Omnium Rerum Principia Parva Sunt – “The beginnings of all things are small”
Currently everyone is talking about the emails recovered by The Washington Post from Meta directly. I’m not saying I believe one side or the other, but it raises several questions that have not been answered, or at least I haven’t seen anything as of yet.
How were the emails recovered? Is there a whistleblower that provided the emails? Could this been even more convoluted where TikTok spoofed emails to appear coming from Meta to bolster their own brand (sometimes bad press brings good business…i.e. Chris Rock Ticket sales).
All tin foil conspiracy theories aside, this all begs the question that Facebook has been under severe scrutiny for quite some time. Why would they use a third party to smear a competitor, unless they were truly hurting. There are plenty of angles in which the situation can be perceived, plenty of closed door conference room huddles where none of us will ever know what truly goes on. As a user of the plethora of social platforms, this is alarming. Business can be cut throat, but to do something like this, and sloppily at that, is amateur. If this does turn out to be absolutely without a doubt true, for shame. But, I’m just one guy with an opinion.
Consider this speculation until more sources are readily available
The VR Wars (as I am calling them), is very reminiscent of the console wars between Xbox, Playstation, and Nintendo. Virtual Reality is the new king-of-the-hill battle royale.
First to market is Meta’s Oculus. It helps the tech was available to Facebook/Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg at $2 billion back in 2014. So they definitely have a leg up. Since purchase, they have released several iterations, most recent, the Oculus Quest 2, with rumors of the Quest 3 (“Project Cambria”) to be released within the next year. Apple is working diligently on their iteration of a VR headset and eagerly projecting a release date of late 2022 to early 2023. Google’s hat to be tossed into the ring Project Iris, is rumored to be in the works and is hoping to hit consumer markets in 2024. “Metaverse” is now looking to be more of a universal term for virtual reality versus Meta having the strong hold on the term as a branding ploy. Frankly, I would like to think the other two competitors would look for a more global term for virtual worlds rather than leaning into Meta’s infant foothold. This would allow for the average consumer to break free from the indoctrination of the term associating all virtual worlds back to Meta. This could very well be a far-fetched dreamscape as most consumers already relate anything VR to Meta/Facebook, but here’s to hoping.
Initial speculations are showing Google’s hesitation jumping into the ring, as previous works in VR/AR has not panned out well, or even performed to the minimum projections they had been hoping for. Think back to Google Glass, the wearable tech (eyeglasses) that would overlay what we now have in Google Lens in mobile devices. In practical application, it made sense, and showed plenty of promise and benefit. Personally, I think it was slightly ahead of its time and the average consumer wasn’t ready for it.
If it would have stayed in development, and released within the past couple of years to present, it would have done much better. Looking at everyone who has wearable tech now, primarily smartwatches. With that said Google does have historical repertoire in the space and have advanced a lot of their AR tech stack in mobile devices. They could easily play to their strengths building off their perceived failures and existing successes. Furthermore, Google already knows so much about all the consumers, it would make sense for them to leverage the harvested first party data. The ongoing joke that Google knows everything about everyone, might as well let them do as they wish and the end user reaps the benefits (along with the dystopian big brother fears).
The speculation around Apple’s development has been wildly varied. From cost, design, release, and specifications. The largest takeaway that is both alarming and undesirable is the rumored price point. Apple products for decades has been perceived to be luxury items. Always inflating their end user pricing, and within the past few years being an advocate of “user privacy.” Without inundating this post with my own personal opinions of the Apple model, there are two things concerning about the pricing of their offering. For one, it is presumed their VR/AR offerings could be in the ballpark of $3k (with a potential subscription service). The second point that is concerning (if this pricing model turns out to be legitimate) is people will pay this. Not for the tech, but because of the status appeal. Don’t get me wrong, they will have some top level tech in their devices, but I can only assume by the time they release their devices, there’s a good chance they have been surpassed by competitors. This has happened numerous times in the mobile phone arena.
Lastly, thinking to the point they are taking user privacy to heart is laughable. Again, attempting to restrain my personal opinions, but the only thing Apple has done is allowed their users to removed the ability for advertisers to personalize ads for their preferences. They have spun their agenda to make them appear to be the hero by removing ads from platforms altogether. They did not use that language explicitly, but Apple lied to their consumers. It seems like it worked, because from what I have seen only advertisers are upset about it. Which begs the question how attune are Apple users in general. But that’s a discussion for another time.
Meta has the upper hand with approximately 10 Million units sold by mid November 2021. In the next year or two when Apple and Google are geared to release their headsets, there’s a good chance Meta has doubled or tripled this number with the added new Quest 3 headset release. No matter which way you slice it, Google and Apple have an uphill battle. Both have their own illustrious brands with consumer perceptions. Apple as the “user friendly” and Google as the “know-it-all.”
If this war is to be won, will it boil down to price, tech, or status? There’s still a lot of time, questions, and development before we will see actual competitive answers/analysis. I could see Apple taking the short win using a subscription service, similar to their mobile pay-to-own plans and lumping VR into it. Which would give them ongoing revenue. Let’s not even think about insurance claims and protection plans. Contracts galore.
Google could cripple the market with their previous attempts at AR and including existing successful tech in their headsets. This working in conjunction with all of their owned/earned first party data. They could easily compile the experience to every end user, creating the best possible consumer curated experience. The internet is slowly abandoning the cookie, but Google has been making drastic strides focusing on the user cohort. This could make the bucketing of user data into the VR realm that much more customized and curated for every end user. All of this combined with the rumored price to be available to everyone. It is assumed this will be either at the same price of Oculus devices or less, to ensure market capitalization.
Overall it is a very exciting time. Like the early console wars, VR/AR is the new battlefield, and we will have to wait and see who will claim victory. As a Meta Oculus Quest 2 owner, I am excited to see what these competitors bring to the arena, and what they will do to shape the landscape.
When I close my eyes and think back to my earliest memories of “virtual reality,” I think of those full body containers from the 90’s in malls, the movie Hackers, and other wonky movies and tv shows (too many to list), the 90’s was a weird time. We could easily go on for quite sometime about the history of VR/AR, who did what and when, but for our purposes now, we are going to focus on Facebook’s (“Meta” – still not a fan of the new parent name) Oculus Quest 2. The other element we won’t be going into is the numerous variants and other devices. Only reason for this is I wouldn’t be able to speak intelligently on them and it would be pure speculation since I don’t have first hand experience with them. With that being said, let’s take a closer look at this mind bending tech.
Out of the box (fairly unique and minimalist packaging), you have your headset, and two controllers and an extremely brief setup guide. There are numerous after-market companies that have developed add-ons and upgrades for comfort, extending battery, or streaming, among other device enhancements. This device at first glance feels right out of the movie Ready Player One (the book is better). It has the futuristic appeal of Back to the Future Part II and has the sleek design to contour easily to your face and hands.
With this being the second iteration of the Oculus, the design and consumer adaptation to the device has advanced light years. A far stretch from my early memories of what VR was at the time. Some movies and tv shows from the 90’s weren’t too far off, but as technology has insurmountably advanced and at such an alarming rate, the Oculus Quest 2 is impressive. That being said, there are constant updates and upgrades happening fairly frequently. The Quest 2 can easily be pigeonholed as just another console gaming system (that you wear on your face), but this isn’t the case. As more companies are embracing the relevance of remote work, with it comes the inclusion of VR meetings, team building exercises, and workflow operations. This is where we start to think about this “Metaverse” you keep hearing about. For now, I think the “metaverse” isn’t the holistic approach or an all-inclusive term of the VR realm. This is just what Marky Mark and the funky bunch (Zuckerberg) are calling it. Think of metaverse as a branding tool to further expose consumers to Meta as a whole. Kind of a brilliant technique because now as Meta is essentially first-to-market with the VR realm and Meta being a part of the metaverse, the average consumer won’t associate VR with anything but Meta devices. At least, until other companies are able to break the spell of indoctrination.
I digress. Without going into too much detail about all that, we can go ahead and remove our tinfoil hats. Back to brass tax. The Quest 2 is a really impressive piece of tech. I mean Zucky did buy Oculus for $2B (yes, that’s a B, for billion). So you get what you pay for and it seems he has some of the best minds on development for Oculus. Not only as I mentioned before this is going to be a great tool for employers/employees but it also has some really great games. Most of which are pay-to-play, but there are demos to get a taste before you commit to purchasing. Outside of games, there are fully immersive apps for meditation, exercise, mental health, and exploring the world, oceans, and galaxies. Some are more breathtaking than others, but so far, I have not had a bad experience with anything I encountered.
It’s not all rainbows and bunnies. There are cons to the device. The stock headstrap that comes with the device is okay at best for the average user. I would recommend the pro strap or going with another brand advanced strap. Depending on how much you end up using, go with something that will increase comfort. Kiwi Design makes a whole line specific to the Oculus Quest 2. Comfort is a huge element, and now that rumors of the Quest 3 are circulating, I truly hope they take weight of the headset into consideration. It’s not very heavy, but after an extended period of time, it hurts the neck and face. The neck from the weight without having a counterweight in place, and the face because you have to tighten the headset a little tight to enjoy the full experience. If too loose, you lose focus, which can be troublesome if you are playing an active game like Beat Saber or FitXR boxing/HIIT especially.
Overall, I would say it is a great device for the average user, and may have tentative implications with how remote business is going. I would like to think if this is going to propel the business world into the future, I could see two way communication and translation services happening in real time. Here’s looking at you Duolingo! That would be a pretty cool element, if not already in the works or already in Beta, and I am behind the curve (wouldn’t be the first time). Dare I say in all reality (har har har), this is not only a gaming console, this could begin the revolution of our species. I know Zucky isn’t everyone’s favorite person, but the vision is promising (if it actually was his or he just slapped his name on it). I’d like to think with new tech and new iterations of this interesting realm, we as people would look first to how it can make things better. I think about what the Xbox Kinect wanted to do with the medical industry, now primarily being used for Ghost Adventures, Ha! The Oculus Quest 2 could easily be the bridge in the gap of virtual education and practical application in so many verticals. Only time will tell, but for right now, I gotta go kill me some zombies.