back to article I'm happy paying Twitter eight bucks a month because price isn't the same as value

I've decided to sign up for Twitter's subscription-based service for a simple reason: to put my money where my mouth is. I'm a verified user, but care not for the blue tick as a status symbol. I applied for it as a sign of authenticity because plenty of websites cut and paste copy from The Register to scrape up a few cents …

  1. Potemkine! Silver badge

    From my point of view, Twitter could go to Hell, I wouldn't give a damn.

    I don't need it for my work, I don't need it to get knowledge, I'm cynical enough to believe people you meet online are not friends but acquaintances at best, and when I want to contact my family, I can use phone, SMS and mails.

    Twitter is an echo chamber for rumours, propaganda, narcissism and hate speeches. I don't consider its contribution to the human kind as positive.

    == Bring us Dabbsy back! ==

    1. Roger Greenwood

      I think of it as a great source of entertainment, sort of like the red top newspapers in the UK used to be 40 years ago. There is some truth there, but mostly exageration, sensationlism, shock tactics etc. Oh, and a lot of funny stuff, but that is available from many other places.

      If, however, you want to argue with a pig then dive right in, you will come out very muddy and maybe eventually realise that the pig likes it (old but good).

      p.s. keep Dabbsy in the sea for me.....

      1. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

        Most of the 'funny stuff' is lifted from comedians and other places and presented as their own idea/words... Not to say there can't be the odd bit of originality, but I've seen stuff posted on there from many comedians without any kind of attribution.

        1. The Mighty Spang

          keith chegwin joins the conversation

          remember about 10 years ago 'cheggers' was basically stealing jokes from comedians. and somebody called him out saying like 'steady on this is our livelyhood' and his army of twatterarti then started harassing the comedian and others who joined in?

        2. Tom 7 Silver badge

          "without any kind of attribution." No room for that!

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      I can't see any reason to use Twitter to talk to friends or family when there are closed chat networks (WhatsApp, Signal, Messages, etc...) that do the job better and don't broadcast your message to the world if you use the wrong setting/option.

      1. Plest Silver badge
        Happy

        WHAT'S THE POINT OF POSTING IF YOU CAN'T YELL IT LOUD ENOUGH THE WHOLE FRICKING WORLD CAN READ WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT EVERY TINY DETAIL OF YOUR DAY!

        Seriously, social media is literally the epitome of modern communication as a detailed by Justin Sullivan of New Model Army in the track 225 many years ago, "The golden age of communication simply means everyone talks at the same time.".

        1. steviebuk Silver badge

          When I started on Twitter way back in about 2007, then stopped cause it was just people saying "Getting up". "Having dinner". "Having a shower now" etc, I started again in 2010 when I started a new job. Decided to do the same in a piss taking way. No one got it. I had to walk a sea front walk every morning. So it was "Going to work" (photo of the sea). "Going home" (Photo of the sea) and that was it :) it amused me for a bit. Then didn't use it again for years.

          Now it's only good for @WHS_carpets

      2. lostinspace

        Sigh, talk about strawman argument as I assume you do realise communicating with friends and family really isn't the point of Twitter.

        I very rarely tweet as I have nothing interesting to say, but follow a wide variety of smarter and funnier people than me. They don't know who I am, so can I follow them on WhatsApp, Signal or whatever?

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Twas the argument used in TFA I believe.

    3. aaaa
      Devil

      this comment has no value

      So you came here to offer an uninformed opinion on a topic of no interest to you. Sounds like you should sign up to twitter.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: this comment has no value

        I wouldn't call it 'uninformed', he believes he's informed about zero value of social media, at least in his own context.

        1. Youngone Silver badge

          Re: this comment has no value

          Ah yes, context. My thought when I saw the headline was "I will never pay Twitter eight bucks a month because price isn't the same as value" but everyone to their own I suppose.

          The thing about Twitter, (and Facebook and all the rest) is that if Elon continues to destroy it and it goes away, it will make exactly zero difference to anyone not employed there, because something similar will spring up to take its place and people like the author of this piece can pay that website money if they choose.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: this comment has no value

            There are plenty moving to Mastodon. A rather more complicated (IMHO) social network. Whether it will gain enough traction or the funding streams to survive the influx is a different kettle of ball games.

    4. andy gibson

      I wondered where the "i hate twitter 'cos its a cesspool and don't need it" post would be.

      Like all social media, its as good as YOU make it - you get back what you put in. If you're coming away from it angry and riled up, then maybe you're not using it right?

      I use Twitter to keep up to date with more highbrow celebs and a few parody accounts (RAF Luton for one) and use Facebook to keep in touch with far away relatives and subscribe to a few special interest hobby groups where the trolling and abuse is virtually non existent.

      If you're going to engage in the more toxic parts - well, the old saying applies - "lie with dogs and you'll get fleas". Or that boring twit in your local pub - you're not forced to sit at his table and listen or argue with him.

      1. graeme leggett
        Black Helicopters

        +1 for RAF Luton.

        Now does anyone know what this helicopter is...

        1. theAltoid
          Black Helicopters

          Haha. For the last 10+ years, I thought it was a scorpion icon.

        2. Big_Boomer Silver badge

          With those side pods,... Sikorski S-56 or a Sea King,... but a black one of course <LOL>

        3. TonyJ Silver badge

          I use Twitter to keep up to date with more highbrow celebs and a few parody accounts (RAF Luton for one) and use Facebook to keep in touch with far away relatives and subscribe to a few special interest hobby groups where the trolling and abuse is virtually non existent.

          If you're going to engage in the more toxic parts - well, the old saying applies - "lie with dogs and you'll get fleas". Or that boring twit in your local pub - you're not forced to sit at his table and listen or argue with him.

          Couldn't agree more. Facebook is useful to me for finding out about dive trips - even better for the last minute ones. My youngest son's rugby coach uses it exclusively for posting team and match information. Other than that, I follow a few funny / parody type pages and pages of interest to me but rarely, if ever, post anything.

          Same for Twitter - I follow a handful of interesting people and parody accounts. I get a lot of short term entertainment from it and completely avoid the toxic nature of the rest of it.

          Horses for courses, as the saying goes. I see it as very much like the old 1980's arguments for the lack of morality on our TV screens - if you don't like it, don't watch (or in this case read and engage) with it.

          Now does anyone know what this helicopter is...

          Not sure but I bet the photograph was taken from a Canberra... ;-)

        4. Roger Greenwood

          "Now does anyone know what this helicopter is..."

          Chinook, taken from a Canberra of course.

          Kudos to the huge team that runs the account...... :-)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            If its a chinook, it appears to have lost one of its rotors.

            1. Roger Greenwood

              One rotor is above the other in this photo, simples!

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                If your Chinook has one rotor above the other...

                You are having a Very Bad Day...

                ...and will shortly be having a fast encounter with Mother Earth.

      2. LybsterRoy Silver badge

        I have a minor problem with your post == its as good as YOU make it== nope its as good as several million yahoos make it!

      3. Loyal Commenter

        Like all social media, it's as good as YOU make it

        Like all social media, it's as bad as EVERYBODY ELSE makes it.

        And if you don't moderate some of those "everybodys" it's a cesspool, because often those who shout the loudest are the ones with the least to say, and the most repellent opinions can be loudly voiced if there is nobody physically there to stop them. The moderating factor in real life is "could I say that to a stranger in the street without risking a punch to the face".

    5. lostinspace

      FFS I'm just gonna have to post this again....

      God it's so dull, every article about Twitter (of which there are a lot at the moment!) someone instantly feels they have to smugly announce that they don't use it and never have. I mean, congrats and all, but do you want a medal or something?

      I find Twitter very useful, I follow all sorts of interesting people that post stuff I'm into. Software developers, artists, cartoonists, musicians, and yes even some political journalists. It's a good way learn about and discover stuff. For a lot of independent artists it's a big way to get their name out there, and Elon Musk destroying Twitter it will be a big deal for them as there is no obvious replacement for everyone to migrate to.

      So just because *you* don't use it, doesn't mean that it's all cat photos and trolls.

      1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

        Yes, of course you are right, as always. If people don't agree with you it must mean they weren't listening. By all means keep repeating yourself until we "get it".

      2. LybsterRoy Silver badge

        I'm not smug, its just a fact that I don't use twitter, so I have a couple of questions:

        1. what does "I follow" actually mean (I'm guessing read their tweets)?

        2. how often do they post and how much genuine information can they achieve in a tweet?

        3. how much of your day is spent reading this interesting stuff?

        4. how much of your day is spent filtering out the uninteresting stuff?

        I'd say elReg consumes about a hour of my day, add in the FT and Unherd and I've probably used up between 2 & 3 hours.

      3. Helcat

        "So just because *you* don't use it, doesn't mean that it's all cat photos and trolls."

        Have you considered that's exactly why some of us don't use it.

        I could do with there being fewer trolls, obviously, but rule 1 of the Internet: It's for cat Photos.

        Now back to browsing Emotional Support Kitties. See: Facebook got it right!

    6. Khaptain Silver badge

      "From my point of view, Twitter could go to Hell, I wouldn't give a damn.

      I don't need it for my work, I don't need it to get knowledge, I'm cynical enough to believe people you meet online are not friends but acquaintances at best, and when I want to contact my family, I can use phone, SMS and mails."

      So why are you spending your time to write replies about a social media platform that doesn't interest you ?

      "Twitter is an echo chamber for rumours, propaganda, narcissism and hate speeches. I don't consider its contribution to the human kind as positive."

      And you are using El Reg to perform that same kind of Echo... Ironic isn't it.

    7. steviebuk Silver badge

      Its only good for @WHS_Carpets. All about WHSmith rough carpets and more WHSmith fun :)

    8. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      If it wasn't for twitter, how would Stephen Fry publicise his heart broken sorrow over the deaths of people he once heard of, or at least who his publicist says he ought to claim to have heard of? And without Stephen Fry's woe-laden tweets, what would the BBC put in obituaries?

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Aaand....He has an account on Mastodon now, I think

    9. Sampler

      in my experience Twitter had mostly disappeared from the social conscious until a certain orange gremlin became prolific for his hate speech.

      No one talked about it, no one referenced it anymore, it was sliding in to the irrelevance occupied by myspace & AOL, then the small hands started tapping out mean tweets and suddenly it was back in the conversation.

      With him banned (and hopefully staying that way) it was on the decline again until the whole Musk purchase started occupying headlines. I figure once this too has blown over it will disappear back down to the niche use it has for those that want it (or want to exploit it) and the rest of us can live without giving it a thought again.

      Of course, if it manages to insinuate itself in to US politics, it's probably not going anywhere fast, but, it's not going anywhere else either and can stay US focused.

  2. sarusa
    Devil

    Price, value, bootlicking

    The biggest problem here is that you are giving giant evil twat Elon Musk $8/mo to help save his disastrous 'Oh shite I bought WHAT while stoned?' purchase, and enabling him to continue being an enormous stupid troll.

    1. badflorist Silver badge

      Re: Price, value, bootlicking

      The author is aware as the article opens with excuses!!! If the fist thing you write is an excuse, you're guilt has caused shame.

      Line 1: I burned down the village.

      Line 2: But hear me out... Hold on... Just a second...

      Line 3: What have I done!

    2. Trotts36

      Re: Price, value, bootlicking

      Ex human rights department “worker” is that you ?

      To be honest it’s funny watching Elon change from the lefts hero to its antagonist.

      I too have watched my opinion of Elon change - some of his engineering feats brought major annoyance (hyper loop) whereas others seemed more based and noble (spacex and satellite internet).

      The left wing US presidents regime slowly morphed from being ambivalent to openly hostile when it became clear that Elon wasn’t 100% a non threat.

      Now we have the basis for an absolute battle royal between the machinations of the left wing Democratic Party and free speech. It’s going to be joyous to watch.

      Oh - and learn to code.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have some sympathy to the idea that user's pay for social media in exchange for not selling PI to the highest bidder, although there is no way to verify that would be honored. So, nah!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > although there is no way to verify that would be honored. So, nah!

      Unless you read the terms and conditions, that is.

      The problem that does remain is that of repressive governments, particularly western ones, forcing the company to give them your data. Take for instance Poland or Spain (if you follow EU legal news).

      1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        If you think eastern governments don't also force companies to hand over data, and that western governments are the worst for it, you are severely delluded.

        1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

          Nobody said anything about western governments being worse than eastern ones, that was your spin. The difference is the terms and conditions under the eastern governments say it is their data, the terms and conditions under the western governments sometimes say it is ours. So when it is supposed to be ours and it turns out to be not, it's fair to complain about it.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          > If you think eastern governments don't also force companies to hand over data,

          Don't be so bloody stupid, please. Nobody but you said anything about the East. It just so happens that the West is where this company is based and where I am based, politically active and already persecuted under blatantly false accusations.

          It is my responsibility to try to hold *my* governments to account.

      2. cmdrklarg

        Forcing them? Social media companies are more than happy to sell your data to anyone, governments included.

    2. sarusa
      Devil

      Ha! Not selling your info

      If you'd seen all the Twitter money making schemes Musk is spewing in all directions (like turning it into a lender, since that worked for him with merging with Paypal) you'd know that selling your PI is not first on the list, but is definitely up there. Your PI will be sold. Musk would grind you, live puppies and live kittens into bloodmeal if it were profitable.

      And terms and conditions don't meant a thing to him. He's already repeatedly violated the promises, laws, and corporate policies with his employees.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thanks & kudos

    For an article that is a) clearly labeled as opinion, b) doesn't get on the bandwagon of "let's trash Twitter because rich guy bought it / I hate change / etc.", c) points out that there's at least a recognition of its social impact and value with the new management, and d) explains how and why it's useful to journalists.

    NB: I'm not and never been a Twitter user. I don't support "journalism by Twitter copy & paste" (which is not the case here anyway). But I find that much of the current bad press is unwarranted if not downright malicious and welcome a contrarian view, as it were.

    1. C R Mudgeon Bronze badge

      Re: Thanks & kudos

      It's not "because rich guy bought it / I hate change".

      It's because that particular rich troll bought it, and has loudly proclaimed his intention to make changes that are very much for the worse -- not only for Twitter users, but also for the rest of us.

      1. Oglethorpe

        Re: Thanks & kudos

        "but also for the rest of us."

        Why should the rest of us care about twitter users?

        1. Lon24 Silver badge

          Re: Thanks & kudos

          I guess you missed what Trump did while he was there had consequential effects not only with Twitter users, but deepen divisions, disinformation and hate in the USA and worldwide?

          The reason why many of the left want him kept out and the right want him back.

          1. Oglethorpe

            Re: Thanks & kudos

            I'm not sure banning the President of the United States from a private platform would have a huge impact on their ability to communicate. He had the ability to make an unsilenceable message appear on anyone's phone or TV. It seems like blaming Apple or whatever manufacturer makes their phone.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Thanks & kudos

              "He had the ability to make an unsilenceable message appear on anyone's phone or TV. "

              Or on the "Memo" line of the "Stimulus" cheques/checks...

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Thanks & kudos

            "The reason why many of the left want him kept out and the right want him back."

            Yeah, he threatens your single party authoritarian rule!

            1. Mooseman Silver badge

              Re: Thanks & kudos

              "Yeah, he threatens your single party authoritarian rule!"

              Where is the laughing so hard i nearly crapped myself icon?

        2. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: Thanks & kudos

          Because Twitter (and FB etc.) shape public opinion. And public opinion leads to social changes. Lies that start on Twitter don't stay on Twitter. Especially if the liars are allowed to publish unchallenged.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Thanks & kudos

        > make changes that are very much for the worse

        Which ones? Feel free to list those (with proper sources)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't bite the hand that gropes you

    Simon is a good sport. Also, it may make business sense for a journal/ist. For a politician or organization with multitudes of followers, it's an absolute no brainer - provided the Twitter itself is not hostile or even unsafe for that politician and their followers - i.e. anon identities are kept confidential.

  6. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Devil

    He changed his mind again on Official within hours

    For some reason, the billionaire friend of Putin really doesn't want people to know they're replying to or DMing the Internet Research Agency.

    Imagine how fewer rocket blow-ups in SpaceX or Tesla car crashes there would have been if someone normal were in charge.

    1. xyz Silver badge

      Re: He changed his mind again on Official within hours

      Imagine how fewer rocket blow-ups in SpaceX or Tesla car crashes there would have been if someone normal were in charge.

      There would be 0 of each... because they wouldn't exist, because normal people wouldn't get around to it. Sometimes nutters are useful.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: He changed his mind again on Official within hours

        Nissan made the world's first Li-ion battery powered car in 1996. Telsa took the same idea and bolted on ham-fisted software which made it play space invaders and kill their drivers as they drive into the sides of lorries, but it's okay to do that because Musk wants his software beta tested. He also calls it autopilot when it's anything but.

        As for Space X, we get to see new rocket designs blow up on the launchpad instead of boring old stick-in-the-mud NASA taking longer with the design and aborting the launch.

        1. Plest Silver badge

          Re: He changed his mind again on Official within hours

          Something about billionaire tech giants and phallic shaped rockets shooting to the heavens, some of sort of penis envy or inadequacy going on there I think. Paint some veins down the side of Bezos , Musk and Branson's toys and they'd be sorted.

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: He changed his mind again on Official within hours

            > phallic shaped rockets shooting to the heavens, some of sort of penis envy or inadequacy going on there I think

            I'm curious as to just what shape you think rockets should be.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: He changed his mind again on Official within hours

          "Nissan made the world's first Li-ion battery powered car in 1996"

          Source? I always thought the 90's EVs were lead acid.

          Tesla (pre-Musk, as he was not a founder) made leccy cars a bit more fun and almost usable as a daily drive. Previously they were concept cars or like milk floats.

          As for rockets going boom

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g79K-R7xTFo

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: He changed his mind again on Official within hours

            Source: Nissan.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: He changed his mind again on Official within hours

              Released in 1997 which is why searches for 1996 result in very little. Not even a wikipedia entry....

          2. Stuart Castle Silver badge

            Re: He changed his mind again on Official within hours

            Re: "Tesla (pre-Musk, as he was not a founder) made leccy cars a bit more fun and almost usable as a daily drive. Previously they were concept cars or like milk floats."

            Tesla obviously didn't invent electric cars. They didn't even have the first commercially available one. What I do think they did is they made electric cars more practical, even "cool". People who would never have bothered with an electric car because they thought they weren't feasible, and only good as milk floats, or even geeky, are actually buying Teslas. Even though a lot of the stuff Tesla has added is gimicky, it has helped sell the cars, which is good.

            1. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: He changed his mind again on Official within hours

              Yes. Tesla seems to have sold the concept to the (wealthy?) public. Which has made other electric cars feasible for mainstream companies.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: He changed his mind again on Official within hours

          > Nissan made the world's first Li-ion battery powered car in 1996

          Lots of people did lots of things over time. Until Tesla, nobody had made electric cars appealable to the masses and nobody had mass produced them. Credit given where credit's due.

          Perhaps if you spent your time trying to make better things yourself rather than judging other people you'd live a more fulfilling life?

      2. DiViDeD

        Re: He changed his mind again on Official within hours

        they wouldn't exist, because normal people wouldn't get around to it

        You know that Elon simply bought the company that developed the Tesla vehicles, sacked the board (including the guy who originally came up with the concept) and set himself up as resident CEO and in house genius, right? That he didn't sit up all night inventing an electric car (or anything else, actually)? That his Hyperloop was a 150 year old idea that had never (and still doesn't) worked and that all he did was give it a dumb sounding name?

        You know all that, right?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: He changed his mind again on Official within hours

          > You know that Elon simply bought the company that developed the Tesla vehicles, sacked the board

          Funny, because the co-founder that was sacked tells a different story himself. There are a few interviews on YouTube where you can hear his side of the story.

          Electric car companies have come and gone (and still do). The difference is that this one was technologically and financially successful. Obviously it's hardly a one-man effort, but not to give Musk due credit for getting there seems a bit dishonest. Same for private space travel.

          1. DiViDeD
            Trollface

            Re: He changed his mind again on Official within hours

            Good point, well made.

            Anyway, moving on ...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He changed his mind again on Official within hours

      How much govt money has Boeing spent so far on Starliner? And how many SLS launches have there been?

      Yeah, ok. Some of the best innovation has happened as part of private enterprise. Sadly we now have a very large group of people who think that only governments can do things.

      1. graeme leggett

        Re: He changed his mind again on Official within hours

        The NASA near space commercial out-sourcing, deep space in-house policy happened because big government drove and bankrolled the early days of spaceflight to the point that rocket science isn't rocket science.

        1. nintendoeats Silver badge

          Re: He changed his mind again on Official within hours

          Yes, let's all remember that the Americans won the space race by spending vast amounts of government money on a centrally-managed project. Thus, the superiority of capitalism over communism was demonstrated.

          (Yes, of course huge amounts of the work were done by private industry. I doubt the Americans would have won the space race if they had left it entirely to the free market, even with a very large government incentive on the table for the winners. It's almost like maintaining a healthy balance of private industry and high-level economic management is the most reliable way to achieve economic goals)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: He changed his mind again on Official within hours

            Don't forget the nazi scientists...

            1. nintendoeats Silver badge

              Re: He changed his mind again on Official within hours

              I don't think "failure to get shit done" is one of the arguments that can be levelled against fascism.

              1. nintendoeats Silver badge

                Re: He changed his mind again on Official within hours

                It doesn't bother me, but I'm genuinely curious why that comment would merit a thumbs-down.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He changed his mind again on Official within hours

      > Imagine how fewer rocket blow-ups in SpaceX or Tesla car crashes there would have been if someone normal were in charge.

      Do you consider yourself "normal"? Then you qualify, now put your money where your mouth is and show us how's it done. I'll hold your beer.

  7. Pete 2 Silver badge

    keep paying the rent

    > A modest monthly contribution to a site that's a big part of my personal and professional lives is an investment worth testing.

    Says the person who has been using it for 15 years.

    8USD/month is pretty much $1500 over that period. I wonder if they would pay that as an up-front amount for the next 15 years?

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: keep paying the rent

      I've spent thousands and thousands on newspapers paying a little sum every day. Would I pay them upfront for the next thirty years? Of course not, that's not how it works.

    2. jmch Silver badge

      Re: keep paying the rent

      $100 a year is a trivial amount to spend for a business, SME or a solopreneur / creative artist etc for market access to millions of potential clients

    3. Little Mouse Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: keep paying the rent

      "Says the person who has been using it for 15 years."

      ...and who therefore presumably has 15 years of actual experience to make a well-informed statement on the matter.

    4. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: keep paying the rent

      What happens when a verified user kicks the mortal bucket?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: keep paying the rent

        he gets a refund?

    5. Crypto Monad Silver badge

      Re: keep paying the rent

      You could say the same about, say, Office 365.

      I don't use Twitter, but I *would* be interested in using (and paying for) a version where all users have a verified identity. Or equivalently, that with one button press I could totally filter out posts from all non-verified users.

      However, it would have to be actual identity verification: by passport, driving licence, or at least the name on the credit card.

      I wouldn't want to see users who are paying $8 per month but are otherwise anonymous.

      1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

        Re: keep paying the rent

        "However, it would have to be actual identity verification..."

        Just think what that data would be worth to [insert 3rd party here]. But that can't possibly be in Musk's mind, can it?

    6. Redact Ted

      Re: keep paying the rent

      Who pays for anything, especially tech based, in 15 year blocks? Most tech platforms expire after 5...

      Not to mention as a journo it's a business expense.

  8. hammarbtyp

    Oh, we know the value.

    Another baked-in flaw of social media is that its users – to borrow from Oscar Wilde – know the price of it is zero but don't understand its value.

    That's not true. We fully understand its value. The value is that it leverages the billions of free content provided for free by its users to get advertisers in.

    As soon as you start paying for a service the relationship changes. I'm happy to feed the beast because it costs me nothing, however start charging and I want to know what am I getting for that., is there a guaranteed level of service, can you ensure that abuse will be dealt with promptly, etc. I am no longer a user, I am now a customer.

    I don't have a blue tick, nor would I want one, never mind pay for the privilege. My fear is that paying for something that before was before a mark of respect and authority will cheapen it to the point it has no value and only those with fragile ego's and the desire to impose their world view will use it.

    Bit like getting a peerage....

    1. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Oh, we know the value.

      I guess the $8/mth is to prove to a potential audience of millions that you are who you say you are. I'm pretty sure they could add a separate subscription level where you pay $x/mth not to bug you with adverts etc

      1. a pressbutton

        Re: Oh, we know the value.

        Perhaps he should charge more for guaranteed anonymous accounts

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Oh, we know the value.

          > Perhaps he should charge more for guaranteed anonymous accounts

          Agreed. But how do you pay and stay anonymous? Send cash by post in a sterile envelope?

      2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Oh, we know the value.

        It's an unfair auction because only the advertisers know how much the other side is prepared to pay and, sooner or later, they always win: see Netflix.

      3. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

        Re: Oh, we know the value.

        So the person who created and paid for a fake Nintendo account that got verified pretty much immediately without being checked for authenticity... is an anomaly and isn't going to be a perfect example of why this is a shitty idea from a shitty human being who'll always shit on everyone else with no regard to any morals, ethics, or even laws.

      4. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Oh, we know the value.

        I guess the $8/mth is to prove to a potential audience of millions that you are who you say you are.

        The only thing the blue tick means is someone is paying Twitter $8 a month for that account, there is no ID verification.

      5. sqlrob
        Facepalm

        Re: Oh, we know the value.

        Absolutely proves who you say you are.

        Why did Nintendo have Mario flip everyone off again?

        1. TheMeerkat

          Re: Oh, we know the value.

          A bug in a new system?

      6. Anonymous IV

        Re: Oh, we know the value.

        > I'm pretty sure they could add a separate subscription level where you pay $x/mth not to bug you with adverts etc

        What are these adverts of which you speak? Using a decent advert blocker restricts adverts to those deliberately inserted by the content-creator in a YouTube video, for example. (In fact the only example, since I can't think of anywhere else...)

    2. Boork!

      Re: Oh, we know the value.

      A subscription fee has the general benefit that a bot farmer would not be willing to pay $8 a month each for 100,000 spam accounts, so it would increase the general signal to noise ratio somewhat for everyone.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Think about Twitter's value?

    I've had ample opportunity to buy into using Twitter by now, but although I set up an account to play with once, I found absolutely zero appeal in the "service."

    Twitter is like any number of "legacy" bands; highly overrated just because they've been around a while.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Twitter is liked by specific people

      For example journalists love it - and of course "celebrities" - once journos had to look for news (and "celebrities" someone to listen to them) now they now mostly come in their feeds without much effort - better than news agencies feeds - and for free. And they could publish also!

      Look at how many articles are now made reporting someone tweeting something - and often I ask myself "What's the reliability of that? I don't know the author".

      Same for Facebook - they can scrape user profiles for every crime news piece. Here recently someone lost his head and stabbed people in a shopping centre. Journos were very sorry he was so mad he didn't have a social profile to scrape for pieces of his life to publish, and had to revert to old procedure that delivered little. Actually, not having social profiles was a proof of his madness, for some.

      1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

        not having social profiles was a proof of his madness

        Not a bad addition for the person who’ll write my obituary.

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Twitter is liked by specific people

        To be fair, Twitter is used by people in a lot of fields to keep up on news. It's very popular among IT security professionals, for example, some of whom will claim it's absolutely critical to their ability to stay informed.

        I personally have never been convinced it's of real value in that domain, which is why I don't read Twitter. (I don't even bother clicking on Twitter links in articles and such, since Twitter requires Javascript, and allow-listing Twitter isn't worth it.) There are plenty of other security news sources that I think are adequately current – feeds and lists like Full Disclosure, email newsletters like SANS NewsBites and Bulletproof TLS, blogs like Schneier's and Ducklin's, and so on. But apparently that puts me in a minority in this field.

  10. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    The subtle knife does not only make doorways to other worlds

    Twitter has value because of the number of people who use Twitter. Using Twitter and paying $8/month both add value to Twitter. Twitter does several things, perhaps some that you support and some that you don't. I think that balance is going to change. If some of the things Twitter did had value to you then the time to consider a plan B was last month. For some, the evidence of the direction Twitter is going was sufficient to jump ship last week despite any negative consequences. If you want to wait and see then that is your purgative (not a miss spelling - I believe that seeing for themselves what Musk intends Twitter to become will cause vomiting among many of the remaining supporters).

  11. gerryg

    Happy to use it

    Our little organisation has around 700 followers and slowly rising. Twitter helps us gain some international interaction in our niche not-for-profit activity. Similarly for our YouTube channel which has around 1100 subscribers.

    They're free to use and helpful. I doubt if paid for advertising would achieve better results. They lead to some IRL activity which helps us do what we do.

    Neither of them have any personal information. I'm very happy. But then I don't see either as an opportunity to share my erudition and insight with fellow echo chamber residents

  12. wolfetone Silver badge

    The only way to fix Twitter is to charge 5p to reply to a tweet. Each and every time you reply to a tweet.

    That would fix absolutely everything with the platform.

    1. hammarbtyp

      Does not need to be that much. 0.01p per tweet would pretty well kill bots

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        I'm thinking more along the lines of those wankers who go out of their way to be nasty to other people. The racists, the misogynists, the homophobic football gobshites that infest the place.

        5p a tweet is nothing much really to begin with, but it soon mounts up when they're being vile. And at least then it might give police a vector in order to find these bastards more efficiently and sort them out properly.

        1. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

          Just make the poster pay a fee to begin with... if you want to post lies it costs 100x as much as truth... Because we know Muskrat isn't going to tackle the spread of bullshit and lies on the platform... because he'd have to stop posting about 75%

          1. sqlrob

            Except in reality, Musk would ALWAYS post truth and everyone countering it would ALWAYS be lying.

            This can and will be in direct opposition to objective truth.

            1. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

              Wooooosh.... that's the sound of the sarcasm going over peoples head

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Scum who pursue that as a business model

    this is THE business model in mass-media though. I regularly see media (feeding off each other, and the chain is several feeders long, across different countries and languages, where it ends with the bleeding obvious 'garbage out'. While this has become so much easier these days, it has always been so, i.e. one stone, perhaps two, creating ripple effect. It's like any propagation, you can stop the process, but only in theory, because in real world, there's always somebody out there for higher profit (more growth), lesser morals, less scruples, more fuckyou all. It's race to the bottom, but there is no bottom. Now, you're saying...

    1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      Re: Scum who pursue that as a business model

      There's a world of difference between running a PA or Reuters story with attribution, and wholesale scraping of text surrounded by a billion low-grade adverts (I'm sure everyone is familiar with these, usually with content from wikipedia or stackoverflow). They're f*cking annoying and I have no trouble labeling their creators as scum.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apparently

    One needs to be “social” to get the most out of SM.

    Like, having actual friends and stuff.

    Nah, not worth it.

  15. Andy Tunnah

    They'll never get a penny

    8 a month is a ridiculous fee no matter which way you slice it. And this whole article rubbed me the wrong way because Twitter has said out loud "unverified posts will be lower priority" so they are forcing people to pay to take part in a social media platform that offers no content other than what other people create. And ads.

    They're not offering a service for the money, they're threatening quality if you don't pay it.

    1. Oglethorpe

      Re: They'll never get a penny

      Doesn't the 8 a month not being 'worth it' depend on who you are? I'm not a twitter user so forgive my misunderstanding but it seems to me to be similar to those elite credit cards. I have no need to pay several grand a month for no credit limit and a concierge service but, if I were extremely wealthy, it would be well worth the amount of time that buys me.

      I understand that, previously, there were some individuals who'd supposedly paid twitter employees a lot of money under the table to be verified.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They'll never get a penny

        The 'elite' accounts are available to lots of people. If you have a combined joint income of over £100k a year you can get an RBS Black that gives you Concierge, fill range of cover from home accidents, car breakdown, phone protect, plus a huge raft of discounts.

        We use the services regularly and have actually saved quite a lot of money on it..They are in no way status symbols as 99.999% of people don't know or care what the account or card is.

  16. Howard Sway Silver badge

    Yet another subscription to pay whilst we still flog your data and chuck adverts at you.

    Surprised it's not called Twitter 365.

    The only thing this paid for icon indicates is that you've coughed up the monthly twitter tax. It's hardly trusted CA certificate levels of identity verification. Unintended consequences may involve realising that you're advertising to other people that you've been enough of a mug to pay it, and then being subject to a flood of other people trying to extract money from you. Or possibly that your identity is actually worth trying to fake, putting you at more risk of this happening all over the web.

    To some extent it might identify you as a worthwhile target rather than act as a shield.

  17. TRT Silver badge

    You know...

    the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don't alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit their views. Which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that need altering.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Twitter is the world largest word game, where users post the most popular tweet and are rewarded with likes and followers.

    Musk is trying to change it into an official gateway for the internet, creating the approved authenticated version of you - and thinking of it as just $8 to share your opinion is naive at best.

    Musk has seen what Meta is doing and realised that it doesn't need fancy graphics, but removing the anon users will help create the same goal.

    I've been on Twitter since 2009, but really think its time to stop playing.

  19. thejoelr

    It's a great identifier.

    The blue check is a great identifier of who is dumb enough to pay for it. I refuse to give any elon company a dime.

  20. AVR

    Doomed

    There's been enough bungles in Elon's takeover of Twitter to send many users and advertisers running. Putting your money into Twitter now is betting that despite Elon having no plan for recovery, and nothing on the horizon other than extending a paywall, that Twitter will somehow not go the way of MySpace, Yahoo or Geocities. IMO it's time to drop Twitter and start trying other social media if you haven't already.

  21. BPontius

    It is "The Star Bellied Sneetches" by Dr Suess with Musk as Sylvester with his machine to add and remove stars. People paying for a star to distinguish themselves from others and soon it will be impossible to tell the true Sneetches from the fakes. The fee is nothing more than a way for Musk to recoup the some of the $4 billion he paid for a dead bird. Waste money for a status symbol in a chat room? Not me!!

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Elveston McMusky McBean?

  22. RaviS

    YES, Now people who desired to have a blue tick on their Twitter account can easily get a Blue tick by paying $8. I am also gonna benefit this feature.

  23. Khaptain Silver badge

    Thank you Simon

    Thank you Simon : for once we have a neutral article.

    Yes, Twitter is a tool, like so many others in the toolkit.. One has to look at the tool and decide if it's fit for purpose, does it do what is says it does on the label ?

    I would rather read articles about algorithm intracacies rather than about the colour of the owner's car, this is after all an IT site. It would be great if the Politics, People and Fashion were left to other venues.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      "the colour of the owner's car, this is after all an IT site"

      What are you on about?

      C.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Thank you Simon

      Are you aware there's an option to not read Reg stories you're not interested in? It doesn't cost much more.

  24. Andrew P

    Sorry, but it's Elon

    I'd probably pay for it too, except that it's Elon Musk and I'm not prepared to give any of his companies any money. Simply, his values don't align with mine so I'm not supporting him and I'm off to Mastodon. If The Register would like to move over there too....

  25. jack d
    WTF?

    Simply put - I fully agree with whatever tha big corpos will do until 2030 and what is more, I will own nothing and be happy. Put it another way - I will always be happy with whatever stupidity the free media promotes now and ever forever

  26. katrinab Silver badge
    Alert

    There is the slight problem that someone managed to create a "verified" @AppleTVPIus account that looked identical to the real one except for the number of followers, and the fact that the second l was actually a capital i.

    Take the highly trusted personal finance expert Martin Lewis for example [1]. There are plenty of scammers out there who pay for fake ads in his name to scam people. They would have no hesitation in paying $8 for a Twitter account.

    [1] See https://www.theregister.com/2018/04/23/martin_lewis_sues_facebook_defamation_fake_ads/

  27. martinusher Silver badge

    Fixing the flaw in social media

    Anonymous posting is the curse of all social media, its been like this since the days of Usenet. Those of us who were using it back in the early days of the Internet remember the flame wars and so on but it was nothing to what happened when the Internet became accessible to the wider population -- with nothing to mediate posts the threads were filled with junk and the whole technology became unusable.

    Twitter is just Usenet brought to a web / mobile interface and suffers from all the same issues. The corporate lure is learning all about the users (the usual "If a product is free then you are the product" thing) and then tried to use an army of programmers and what-have-you to try to keep the morass under control. Musk's idea of charging users a small fee to verify their identities is brilliant because its so simple. Its also not a new idea --- its long been suggested that spam could be easily dealt with by charging a nominal fee for each message, an amount that would be negligible for a user but would start to hurt for people sending out millions of unsolicited messages.

    Here I should give a shout out to OffGuardian -- offguardian.org -- which is an open discussion site for frustrated "Guardian" readers/commentators. Its also a lesson and a warning since over the last couple of years its been almost completely taken over by Covid conspiracy theories and other QAnon type stuff. But there's still a lot of interesting signals buried in the noise.

  28. jollyboyspecial Bronze badge

    The simple problem is one of affordability.

    Yes it's only 8 bucks. But the blue tick is about verification not monetization. There are people out that such as campaigners for whom this is a lot of money and something they would have to seriously consider, especially in the current economic climate. But these are perhaps the people who need the verification check the most. Without it they are much more vulnerable to being impersonated particularly by opponents and detractors. Right at the other end of the scale are billionaires who could be damaged by impersonators, but for whom eight dollars is literally nothing. A thousand times more would still be loose change for them.

    And that's where Musk's model for twitter dies on its arse. It has always been a great leveler, but as soon as you start making folks pay for the service you bias it towards people with money. And at that point I think that even fewer people will take it seriously. Over the last few years - particularly the Trump years - more and more people have stopped trusting twitter. Even the belated banning for Trump did very little to restore that Trust. The takeover by Musk has eroded that trust still further. And the direction he is taking the platform is eroding it further still. There will be a tipping point where a gradual loss of users turns into a freefall decline.

    FWIW I have used twitter less and less over the years and a while ago I deactivated my account.

  29. Proton_badger

    I consider myself lucky, the 5 people I followed all cross-post to Mastodon, so I no longer need Twitter. It may not be a viable competitor, we'll see, but in the meantime I get only posts from those people I follow. No recommended/ads/trending/sponsored/whatever cruft flooding over my feed, it's lovely.

    I get that most people still need or enjoy Twitter and see value in it. And with 4-5 Firefox extensions it can be somewhat sanitized.

  30. DenTheMan

    OU

    Thats it folks

  31. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Are you ok with giving $8/month to Saudi Arabia?

    Oh, and it won't be $8/month for very long. The sheer number of people leaving Lord Elon of Skum's platform will make him raise the $8.00 to $20.00 to $50.00 per month.

    He has form. Just look at how he's increased the price of his fancy cruise control for cars.

    I'm so glad that I have resisted all attempts to get me to sign up for one of the anti-social media platforms.

    Elon, you rushed into buying Twatter and now you have to live with the cost. Good.

    1. disgruntled yank

      Re: Are you ok with giving $8/month to Saudi Arabia?

      Apparently I am, $8 and more. That's a bit less than two gallons of gasoline at local prices. We don't drive much, but we do go through a good deal more than two gallons every month.

  32. Phil Kingston

    Verified or not, it's just a toxic cesspool designed to en(g/r)age.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Social Media is like an STD

    Only not as itchy.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I saw a raconteur suggesting that Elon would turn it into the wechat group of businesses.

    That makes a huge amount of sense to me, as the Chinese are doing useful things on the internet far, far better than US companies, who are making a complete hash of doing anything other than a couple of things they lucked into.

    Buying a large userbase of something that mostly works, as the starting place to do that makes a huge amount of sense.

    So I thought he Elon had a brain fart, but I'm not so sure now.

  35. Locomotion69

    Your value has increased - or has it?

    Twitter has been "free" (as in free beer) as the asset to the company is "you".

    But Elon has found out that "you" are not profitable enough, and "your" value is now increased with $8 / month - to be payed by "you".

    If the service provided by Twitter suits "your" needs, than that is fine. If not, "you" are free to sell/give away "yourself" to another service.

    Sorry for being too sceptic.

  36. MJB7

    It's a good job El Reg puts a timestamp on stories (and not just a datestamp). This particular story hasn't aged well: "Official" was rolled back in the last day, but has apparently been rolled out again (nobody knows how long for), and Yoel Roth has left the company.

    I rather like news stories that are fascinating and constantly changing but are about a rather unimportant part of my life - as opposed to being about the government of the UK being in crisis, again.

  37. DrXym Silver badge

    Let's talk about the Register for a moment

    I have a little silver badge next to my name. I can't recall why I got it, but I must have done something by my presence. But other being there it doesn't do anything to my comments - they can be thumbed up, or they can be thumbed down. If I say something people agree with it goes one way, if I don't it goes the other. The comment appears amongst others in the order they were made.

    Now imagine now that the Register decided to charge for the badges, that if I paid a fiver a month my comment would receive more prominence. Perhaps there are other perks too - maybe people without badges can't vote me down, or their votes count half as much. And of course all the badge-less comments appear below mine.

    Would that make any sense at all? Would it mean my comment has more merit than someone else's? Would it mean that other people who pay a fiver deserve their comments to be seen first too? What if we all paid a fiver thereby negating any benefit? The answer is that no it wouldn't improve the quality of anything. It would just be a cash grab.

    And the same goes for Twitter. The blue ticks used to be a quid pro quo for Twitter - "we Twitter give you the tick because you drive platform engagement which means we can run more ads. And as such we want to verify who you are and give you some tools to manage engagement better. It's a win-win.". That's it. But now it's "Pay us $8 or your engagement will sink like a rock and your comments will be worth shit. And we don't care who you are or what you say as long as you pay us". It's a shakedown and it will not drive engagement. In fact it will turn the platform into a cesspit of banality where anyone with $8 can shout over everyone else.

    So good luck with that Elon. I hope you lose billions as your platform atrophies away and other social media platforms rise up.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Let's talk about the Register for a moment

      True, though Twitter already did some of that. There are accounts I follow, but which I never seem to see, unless I actively search for their comments, and then I find loads that haven't appeared in my feed.. Or sometimes they appear in my dog's Twitter feed but not mine. (Yes he's on Twitter too). I assume that quite often my pearls of wisdom also aren't seem by the people who follow me - unless I'm on the coat tails of someone who's (Twitter) famous

    2. Pirate Dave Silver badge

      Re: Let's talk about the Register for a moment

      "I have a little silver badge next to my name. I can't recall why I got it, but I must have done something by my presence."

      https://www.theregister.com/2012/03/23/el_reg_forums_faq/

  38. disgruntled yank

    That dog won't hunt?

    Americans tend to say "check" rather than "tick". All these references to a "blue tick" bring to mind https://en.wikiped.ia.org/wiki/Bluetick_Coonhound

    1. Pirate Dave Silver badge

      Re: That dog won't hunt?

      Or... https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112196/

      I had a bluetick as a kid. Dumb as a box or rocks and it never could figure out how to pick up a trail. Good watchdog though, and not at all gun shy.

  39. Spaceship

    Ummm he was kinda forced to put his money where his mouth is and also put several other peoples money where their mouth is Hmmm

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