A Group of Users Are Trying to Turn Twitter Into a Co-Op

Despite its consistent popularity, Twitter is regarded by most investors as poison. Shareholder pressure has blighted the platform many times in the past, particularly in the wake of sliding quarterly earnings reports. It's not necessary a Twitter problem, it's a social media problem; we're living in an age when the most popular brands aren't actually lucrative. It's not about sales figures any more, it's about ad revenue, and ad revenue is a fickle mistress.

Facebook remain the best example of what a successful social media business model looks like, but they stand on precarious ground. In reality, social media is ill-suited for capitalist economics, they're too new and the system is too archaic. This is part of the reason why some Twitter users are trying to turn it into a co-op.

For the unaware, a co-op is a business which is owned by consumers, so that everyone gets an equal say, rather than big investors taking the controlling stake. Pooling the labour and sharing the cost. Originally, co-ops were most associated with agriculture, so applying the concept to a social media platform is still a bit of a reach, but the more you unpack it, the more sense it begins to make.

The group of users in question are aiming to revive Twitter from its recently failed sale by placing it the hands of people who have the most interest in keeping it, well, Twitter. As a co-op, all of the changes made to the platform would come from, and be evaluated by, the user base. Moreover, the promise of greater say in the way the platform changes could actually reignite user interest.

The proposal is being considered for a shareholder meeting next month, but board members have already criticised the idea, describing the discussion of it as a "misallocation of resources". For this reason, the idea may never get any further, but even the suggestion of it has raised some interesting points about how social media platforms are best equipped to function as a business.

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