Paola Bassanese is an author and freelance writer. She is interested in healthy living, work/life balance, and the performing arts.
Twitter Loves Innovation
Twitter launched a way for users to monetise their presence on the platform through Ticketed Spaces in the latter part of 2021.
Twitter’s Spaces Are Ticketed Events
Spaces is an added function from Twitter. Twitter defines Ticketed Spaces as “a way to support creators on Twitter” by allowing them to earn from events they host on the platform, such as:
- speaking engagements,
- moderating conversations or
- holding meet-and-greets.
Spaces are live audio conversations, which is a concept similar to Clubhouse, the audio conversation app.
Participants buying tickets to Twitter Spaces get to have a closer experience with their favourite creators on Twitter, getting exclusive access to live audio events.
Ticketed Spaces launched with a selected number of users who are allowed to monetise their events if they can demonstrate:
- they have more than 1,000 followers
- have hosted at least three events
- are older than 18 years old.
Users are therefore required to host three initial events for free to be eligible to charge ticket prices.
To access the Spaces features and start organising events creators need approval from Twitter to ensure they meet all the eligibility criteria. They also need to set up a payment processor. By signing the end user agreement, creators authorise Twitter to access data from the payment processor.
Creators must ensure all the information about their Spaces events is correct and not misleading. They must also disclose if they are in any paid partnerships related to their event.
High profile accounts such as NPR started using Spaces to broadcast celebrity interviews. Large organisations have the resources to experiment with this service and capitalise from it.
Twitter Spaces' own Twitter account gives real time updates on the service. As recently as October 2021 there had been some technical issues including the audio not working, which is a major problem.
Twitter Features Come and Go
A Chequered Past for Twitter’s Added Features
Remember Vine? Remember Periscope? Remember Fleets?
Vine used to be one of Twitter’s success stories: it was a short video service with a maximum of six seconds that played on a loop. It ran from 2012 to 2016 and created celebrities on the platform. Twitter pulled the plug on Vine because advertisers couldn’t make full use of it. However, the social media stars that Vine created still managed to monetise their presence through outside sponsorships. Even then, when they realised there were other earning options available, they started leaving to find more lucrative opportunities elsewhere, such as on YouTube. At its peak it is rumoured that Vine had 200 million viewers. However, when Instagram introduced its video feature in 2013 with longer running times, Vine didn’t innovate its model to have longer videos.
Twitter discontinued Periscope in March 2021. It was a streaming app that Twitter acquired in 2015. It gained huge popularity in 2016: by that year 100 million livestreams appeared on Twitter. Many of the features from Periscope such as the content interactions are similar to Instagram Live, which launched in November 2016 alongside Instagram Stories.
Twitter discontinued Fleets in August 2021, less than a year from their launch, communicating the decision in an article called Goodbye, Fleets. The concept behind Fleets was a copycat of Instagram Stories: it was fleeting content that would be displayed in the top of the screen for 24 hours before disappearing. This, in turn, was something that Instagram had copied from Snapchat.
Twitter wanted to capture the ephemeral nature of thoughts with a view to gain more engagement. When users didn’t seem to love the feature and failed to engage with it, Twitter decided to pull the plug. One thing that Twitter wanted to keep from Fleets is their prominent placement on the top of the timeline, which is now dedicated to Twitter Spaces.
It's all about Engagement
Is there a Good Earning Potential from Twitter Spaces?
Creators will need to do their homework before venturing into Spaces. The terms and conditions make it very clear that participants may ask for refunds and payouts may be put on hold if there are any discrepancies or disputes.
Creators can decide the number of available tickets to an event and their price.
The minimum payout is $50. Payments from Spaces ticket sales take place 60 days after the end of the month when ticket sales revenue is received.
Twitter deducts fees from ticket sales plus 3%; in other words, creators earn approximately 97% of the revenue before any other fees are applied. Additional fees include currency exchange and transfer charges to receive money.
Twitter has a final say on eligibility to earn revenue from Spaces. Creators must adhere to the terms and conditions. This means that monetising content is subject to changes. Twitter has the rights to manage, terminate or change the licence rights to ticket sales. This also includes suspending or terminating a creator’s access to Ticketed Space.
For example, Twitter may decide by its own discretion to change or delete ticket types, the value of tickets or ways to pay for tickets. These options are outside the creators’ control.
Twitter Leads the Way, then Leaves
Is there value in being a pioneer, only to then leave the scene and let competitors take up your space? What about the users who enjoyed the added features from the platform, only to see them being taken away from them?
There seems to be a slight disregard for what Twitter users want from the platform, to give preference to experiments to prove new concepts and test innovations.
Twitter’s philosophy is to try new things and see if they work; if they don’t, it just moves on to the next venture. The thinking behind it is more about taking risks and changing directions. Even though in its communications Twitter keeps saying that it’s actively listening to users, it seems that the ultimate decisions are not related to customer feedback.
Are Twitter Spaces Worth It?
If we look at the lifecycle of previous Twitter features such as Vine, the first year is when a new service has to gain momentum and prove it is marketable.
For creators it may be tempting to add a revenue stream through Ticketed Spaces but there may not be enough potential for earning. It might be easier to earn from Spaces if a creator has a huge following and can dedicate time to promote events. The events also need to appeal to participants to entice them to buy tickets.
Considering that Spaces may have a limited window frame in which it will be available, creators need to do some serious thinking before making a decision.
Creators should evaluate if they are willing to take the plunge or if it’s better to wait.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2021 Paola Bassanese