Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Is It Time For Twitter To Start Charging?

I'm sitting here with my Twitterstream dead.

This is the second time in a week.

I'm one of those people who lambasted Twitter as a trivia-spewing service.

While it can be that, if you're smart about who you Follow, it can be an important -- if not vital -- resource.

I don't do RSS, so Twitter fills that gap.

Twitter has alerted me to news items well before they've been tweeted by major news outlets.

One Twitterer, top_book, has been a treasure chest of material that's inspired posts here (go to Search and do "top_book" to see!).

With the economic catastrophe that awaits us, Twitter is going to be one of the most important ways for people to keep in touch and to exchange firsthand accounts of local situations.

In short, Twitter has possibly become one of the most important things on the Internet -- not just to me, but for many, many people.

But these outages really flay my skin. I feel out of touch in a way I haven't when there's been a Time-Warner problem and the entire Internet has been removed from me.

I've read about the conundrum the Twitter people are having trying to "monetize" the service.

Let's break that deadlock: Charge for it.

Start with a pittance, even a token-like fee: $25/year.

Perhaps that will help keep future outages at bay.

Perhaps that will indicate to those who run Twitter how important it's become to users.

Perhaps that will keep Twitter going while other services on the Internet go dark (and they have been; several news aggregators in my Bookmarks seem to have gone under, with no announcement).

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