April Fool's Day is still two weeks away, but many Twitterers have already been punked. It's a good one, too. Thursday's BBSpot spoof that reports Twitter has decided to charge for "premium" services is still tricking some Twitter users.
After much speculation about how Twitter intends to make money, it's easy to see how some could be duped by the BBSpot headline, "Twitter Unveils New Premium Accounts," and even the made-up quote from Twitter co-founder and CEO Evan Williams:
"Celebrities and large corporations have begun flocking to Twitter for their social media needs, and growth has accelerated. Many users have expressed willingness to pay for accounts, and now we give them that opportunity."
Read a little further, though, and the wheels come off. First consider the names of the premium accounts -- "Sparrow," "Dove," "Owl" and "Eagle" -- and then their features. Each paid account bumps up the length of tweets and the number of random followers. The top-of-the-line Eagle package, US$250 per month for a 500-character limit and 1,000 extra random followers, also includes three "celebrity followers" of the user's choice and a Twitter "concierge" for tweeting while the user is asleep, among other exclusive perks.
If that weren't enough of a tip-off, the article describes an EmbellishTwit plan, which for a mere $100 more per year uses "educated offshore employees" to jazz up boring tweets. For example, the tweet, "Just had a whole wheat bagel and coffee for breakfast," becomes "Just got in from clubbing all night and Heidi Klum is spreading brie on a baguette just flown in on the Concord for my breakfast."
At least half all current tweets about the "news" are still treating it seriously. Said kairaca: "Not thrilled...think they're going to lose users with this plan, if I understand it..." Wongrichard asked: "would [it] be better to charge celebs only?" But just as many others, like thecx, had caught on: "C'mon people! Twitter premium accounts was a joke!"