May 12, 2024

Is social media worth paying for?

There's a profound sense of distaste among some established users about "Buying your way in" - gaining extra visibility and profile by paying for it, rather than getting it on merit by posting good content. There is an old adage "If you're not paying for the product, you ARE the product" - meaning, if you are using something for free, then the company which owns it is taking the data you put on it and charging firms to advertise at you instead. It's an established and lucrative business model. "The hassle-free experience of simply being able to enjoy content, without the fear of 'when will the adverts come' is something that I need in my life," says James Hacking, founder of the media agency Socially Powerful, and a long-term YouTube subscriber. It's a "Weird thing", he says, to be both seeing ads and paying a fee. Mr McKenzie thinks that one day there will be "grand rivalry" between social networks that take one overall subscription for all the content on them, and individual creator models such as Substack.

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