Are You Willing to Pay for Access to Social Media?

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?

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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.

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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.

4 comments

  1. Not even if it cost a penny a year. I don’t Tweet, and barely use FB. I’d like it if I didn’t have to use it at all, but it’s a neccesary evil today.

  2. Who says that social media is free?! We may not pay for it with cash but, one way or another, we “pay” for it; by having to wade through tons of inane garbage, by having our data sold and bought, by being tracked and spied on, by being the product.

    “a paid structure might create a much more interesting social media landscape.”
    The old adage “You get what you pay for” implied that pay-for services are better than free ones. In the case of Internet companies, all it means is a greedy money grab. If companies start charging for social media, rather than getting “a much more interesting social media landscape” we will get the same old crap AND we will have to pay for it.

    “Why should a service I use that makes my life better be free?”
    Which begs the question, does the service really make your life better?

  3. Sure! I’d be delighted to pay for a service that I seldom use, that spies on me and steals my personal data for whatever nefarious purposes they deem profitable.

  4. No, and how could this work? Those who hate ads can block most if not all of them for free. Those addicted to social media couldn’t care less; they’ll look at pretty pictures and post tripe 24/7. Ads are annoyances, almost none of them result in sales of the thing being advertised; they’re about money flowing among ad agencies at a level users never see in order to gain access to mostly useless data. Block ads and pay for apps that really, really are valuable. If software companies can take your data without you knowing what’s being taken, TOS’s and EULA’s are invalid, so fight back.

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