Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, launched a crowd-sourced news platform called ‘Wikitribune’ in 2017. As a spin off from it, he recently developed ‘WT :Social’, which is a social media network designed to focus on news sharing and discussion. This platform will not sell user data and it relies on the generosity of individual donors and not on ads.
The aim of this platform is to position itself as a “news focused” place and in order to empower users to make a choice about the content they are served, they will be enabled to edit misleading headlines.
This advertising led business model formulated for WT: Social, will be different than other models out there. It will provide the users with subscription options of £10 per month or £80 per year in the UK (€12 / €90 in Europe, $13 / $100 in the US). It also places a prime focus on eliminating the amplified voices of bad/fake actors and news across the globe. The platform provides an added advantage by ensurig the protection of privacy and keeping one’s social space ad-free.
The users who sign up on the platform have to join a waiting list. And, are asked to invite others or choose a subscription package. The articles shared by a user’s chosen network appear in a timeline format with the newest first and does not work algorithmically to appeal to their interests.
According to Forbes, they are a few key factors identified to be incorporated for WT: Social:
1. Content and Conversion:
As content is one of the key factors which drives users to a particular platform, it will be crucial for WT: Social to put up a good content and conversation front that provides users with relatable and reliable content. Users will need to see it as a regular platform which provides them with objective views on different topics and stories.
2. Encouraging users to pay for the platform:
People are not generally accustomed to paying for social media. Their major willingness lies on paying for quality content. Hence, WT: Social might face a fix while figuring out to build a momentum and high levels of user growth along with trying to provide high-quality content.
3. Ease of publication and consumption:
With the emergence of social media, the presentation of information created an endless timeline for the users to scroll through. That is one of the primary reasons we tend to stick and scroll through apps like Instagram and Facebook. For WT: Social to succeed, they will need to create a representation of content in a way that enables users to find, browse and share the content they are consuming.
4. Mechanism for shareable content:
Brands, businesses and the audience, all are fond of sharing content. Re-shared content is a great way through which businesses build their audience. WT: social can develop a key to success and can pull more users when they are easily able to share the news that interests them through email or other social media platforms.
On paying for usage of this platform, there is a group of users who will be willing to pay and see it as a price they pay for the protection of their data. In a span of two days, more than 1,60,000 members have registered on the platform. In the long run, it will be a matter to look into because users are quite used to using social media for free. How long would they be willing to pay for this service is a thing to ponder on.