The global rollout Thursday of Twitter’s Tips feature on iOS is just part of what product lead for creator monetization Esther Crawford called a philosophy to “turn followers into fans and fans into funds.”
The extended availability of Tips is the first step in Twitter’s push to “go beyond 280 characters,” head of consumer product Kayvon Beykpour said during a press call Thursday, adding, “Twitter’s purpose is to serve the public conversation. At its best, we think Twitter can be the conversational layer for the internet. It’s an exciting time at the company, and we’re trying to push the envelope to evolve the product.”
Crawford elaborated on several initiatives toward that evolution, starting with a move to provide the hosts of Twitter Spaces audio sessions with financial, marketing and technical support, but she would not go into specifics on the amount of money earmarked for the fund or the expected total of creator participants.
Spaces hosts will soon gain the ability to record and replay their sessions.
“There has been something missing: self-serve monetization tools,” Crawford said, adding that Twitter will expand access to its Ticketed Spaces option for creators to monetize their audio sessions on the social network by setting ticket prices at $1 to $999 and designating the number of available spots, as well as its Super Follows program that allows eligible users to charge subscription rates of $2.99, $4.99 or $9.99 per month and provide those subscribers with exclusive behind-the-scenes content and conversations.
Twitter will also roll out a dashboard that enables creators to track all of their earnings from various monetization features across its platform in a single space.
And Crawford said the company would continue to work on ways to make it easier for people to discover newsletters on its platform.
Another area that Twitter has begun to explore to better serve creators on its platform is non-fungible tokens.
Crawford said the social network is working on ways to support authentication of NFTs, which would enable their creators to connect their cryptocurrency wallets to Twitter and track and showcase their offerings, but work is in the early stages, so she could not be more specific on how that authentication would be displayed.
Product lead for conversational safety Christine Su chimed in on the platform’s efforts in her area, saying, “People don’t have a one-size-fits-all definition of what makes them feel comfortable, but they want to use Twitter on their own terms. Instead of us thinking of Twitter as the moderator, you’ll see us talking a lot more about putting control in the hands of users.”
She added that Twitter is testing a feature it calls Heads Up, to let people know when they are about to join a potentially heated discussion, and the social network is exploring ways to combine automation with helping authors of tweets set the vibe of conversations.
As for Tips, Twitter began beta-testing what was then called Tip Jar in May with a limited number of people around the world who use the social network in English, including creators, experts, journalists and nonprofits.
Accounts that have the Tips feature turned on will display an icon that resembles currently next to the follow button on their profile page.
Tapping that icon brings up payment services or platforms designated by the account holder, and options available to them as of Thursday are: Bandcamp, Cash App, Chipper, GoFundMe, Patreon, PicPay, Razorpay, Wealthsimple Cash and Venmo.
Once the user giving the Tip chooses a service, they will be taken off-platform to that service’s application, and Twitter will not receive a cut.
Twitter is also making another payment option available for Tips: Strike, a payments app available in El Salvador and the U.S. (except Hawaii and New York) that enables people to seamlessly tip with Bitcoin via the Bitcoin Lightning Network.
Any Bitcoin Lightning wallet can be used to send Tips to a Twitter user’s Strike account.
“We want everyone to have access to pathways to get paid,” Crawford said. “Cryptocurrency operates without global barriers, and we’re excited to incorporate it into our products.”
Twitter users must be 18 or older to send or receive Tips.