Free the Tweet: Twitter Premium & How it Affects Journalists

By: Kayla Henson | @kayla_hensonn

Twitter is one of the quickest way to get information in this day and age. As a member, people can update the world on their lives with succinct tweets, pictures, and videos. As a journalist though, Twitter is another way to both receive and relay information. There’s no doubt that Twitter has completely redefined how news is shared to the people.

However, with talk of a premium version of the application offered to journalists and other professionals alike, the relationship between journalism and Twitter may be forever changed.

twitter premium

(source: misskatecuttables)

Though Twitter has roughly 319 million monthly active users, it isn’t seeing much user growth. Its competition with Facebook’s steady user growth and its search of another source of revenue for the application has lead to talks of releasing a premium program for professional accounts, including journalists.

So what exactly would a premium account have that the free one wouldn’t?

According to Twitter spokeswoman Brielle Villablanca in a statement released this past Thursday, the company is mainly focusing on expanding their Tweetdeck to provide more analysis, advanced analytics, and tools to focus on trends and alerts. This would have very immediate affects on journalists and other professionals if the company decides to add premium accounts.

I don’t believe it would solve their problem of getting new monthly active users, though it would definitely increase their revenue.  Most professionals, journalists especially, are on Twitter already. This business tactic won’t make much of a difference when it comes to how many users will be more active monthly, but professionals would most definitely cough up extra cash to gain further insight on their audiences.

This follows in line with professional companies like LinkedIn offering paid subscriptions to professionals and businesses to give them more access to data.

The long story short is that this would be a smart business tactic on Twitter’s part because professionals are usually more than willing to have more access in order to appeal to larger audiences and figure out what is/isn’t working. On the other hand, Twitter doesn’t really have anything to lose because users would still stay on their free account, just without enjoyment of the extra features on Tweetdeck.

If Twitter were to continue with this strategy, it would definitely need to do a thorough job of reassuring its regular users that it does not intend on making the regular features of the app suddenly premium.



Murphy, Mike. (2017) Retrieved from

Reuters. (2017) Retrieved from



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UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism