Chicago (IL) - After three long years without a defined business model, and enduring constant criticism because of it, Twitter had apparently offered its users a variety of paid services. When the report of Twitter's paid account options to their list of services came out, users were not happy -- and rightfully so: The whole thing was a hoax. And even though the report said free accounts would still remain available, users were first upset over the terms of the proposed paid services, then over the fact they were duped.
Under the new paid system, users would have the option of purchasing one the following accounts, though their free account would still work as it does today:
Sparrow ($5/month) – Users get 145 character limit, 5 extra random followers.
Dove ($15/month) – Users get 160 character limit, 25 extra random followers, 1 random celebrity follower, auto-spell check, "Fail Whale" T-shirt.
Owl ($50/month) – Users get 250 character limit, 100 extra random followers, 2 random celebrity followers, 30 minutes on recommended list, auto-spell check, "Fail Whale" hoodie.
Eagle ($250/month) – Users get 500 character limit, 1000 extra random followers, 3 celebrity followers of their choice, 5 hours on recommended list each month, Twitter Concierge for Tweeting while user is asleep or busy (and more), auto-spell check, "Fail Whale" tuxedo, custom "Fail Whale" page when service is down.
When this news broke, I'll admit I was just like everyone else: Flabbergasted. To be honest, I lashed out on my personal blog with rage and frustration. First of all, why would I want to pay to increase my popularity on a social networking site? Second, why should I pay for additional characters when I can merely submit multiple Tweets for free? And third, ugh~!
I examined each plan carefully, thinking just how ridiculous they truly were. I mean really, for $250 a month I want more than a special "Fail Whale" when the site goes down. In fact, for that rate the site had better not go down. And why pay so much for the celebrity followers? Ugh~!
Is this what the world of social networking is coming to? I was disgusted. Actually, I was mortified. I was heading to my Twitter homepage with the intent to delete my page. But first I Tweeted! A retaliation Tweet was necessary for going out in style, so I said "PS. If I want to tweet 500 characters I'll just tweet 3.57 times". HA! That'll show 'em.
It was at that point one of my followers laughed at me, pointing me in this direction. I had been punked, hoaxed, duped, and so had the most of the Twittersphere. Twitter didn't have a new plan. It was just a concoction created to do exactly what it did: Fool us.
Unfortunately for both users and Twitter as a site, many people still adamantly believe that the hoax is true, resulting in upset, angry Tweeting, and the continuous spread of this ridiculous rumor. It probably doesn’t help that Twitter has yet to issue a public response to users notifying them that there is no need to be so distressed.
The author of the original post which fueled this hoax felt it was funny that the three year old company lacks a business plan. And I feel kind of lame being so gullible, but in re-reading the account descriptions it is blatantly obvious they are tongue-in-cheek.
It just goes to prove you can't believe everything you read.