Many people are bothered by the ads they see on social media, and there’s also a social media tax that has been imposed on the people of Uganda. This brings up the question of whether this online socialization is something we should have to pay for. Are you willing to pay for access to social media?
Damien was quick to reply “Nope.” He says he won’t pay for the access to social media. He also admits he can live without it anyway.
Alex says he barely wants to use social media when it’s free, so can’t even imagine paying for the privilege to use it. He does suggest, though, that “a paid structure might create a much more interesting social media landscape.” He wonders how the composition of users would change and asks, “Would it be a world of only extroverts, paying to shout to other extroverts?”
Ada says there is not a chance she would pay for social media. She doesn’t use it even though it’s free, “so paying for it is not an option at all.”
Andrew answers that he would pay for it. He’s lived in many different places so has friends all over the world, and without social media, he wouldn’t be able to keep in touch with them other than with a text/email chain.
That said, he doesn’t really like the way social media has worked out and is very open to changes. But he thinks “the utility that Facebook has generated, at least for me, is worth something.” He notes there is still some competition, so if Facebook starts charging, many would migrate to another service, as Facebook doesn’t have a monopoly in that way.
Phil explains he came from a time when access to the Internet was a privilege and not a right, and you had to pay for it, such as AOL, Compuserve, CIX, etc. He doesn’t like advertising, but that’s the model TV and radio uses. With regards to Facebook, he’d pay if it was $3 a month but not $9.99. He wouldn’t pay for others, like Twitter or Instagram, as he doesn’t use them enough.
“People probably need to get used to the old-fashioned idea of paying for what they use if it’s a service.” He uses Wikipedia every day, so every time they ask for money, he pays it. He pays for the things he uses, such as his ISP, Netflix, etc. “Why should a service I use that makes my life better be free?”
I’m from a similar age bracket, so I see where Phil’s coming from. I paid for AOL dial-up and used it for email and to talk to a group of friends I made there. I agree regarding paying for services, that we shouldn’t expect to not pay for things we use that we enjoy or that help us. Yet after we’re used to getting it for free, it would be difficult to then start paying for it and feel the same about it.
And I also see Alex’s point that it could change the composition of the users. Maybe I wouldn’t want to pay for it if it wasn’t the same. If all my friends and family didn’t decide to pay for it and weren’t all on there, then it wouldn’t matter as much to be on it anymore. I think this adds more to the question. It’s not just would you pay for it, but would you pay for it even if not everyone you know is on it and you couldn’t use it in the same way that you’re used to.
We’ve given you a lot to think about here and showed that it may not be so much of a cut and dry, yes or no answer. If you don’t use social media or rarely do, it’s an easy no. But if you do use it, there’s a lot more gray area. Are you willing to pay for access to social media? Join our conversation and add your thoughts in the comments.