In 2006-2007 I would have payed for Twitter and/or facebook, but not now. Both of them say “pay, to prove that you’re a human being”. For as long as I have been on Facebook I have used my real name. I authenticated myself by using my university e-mail address. Back then you need an educational e-mail address to be verified. it’s only with time that the barriers to entry collapsed.
With twitter I started as anonymous but after plenty of tweetups I used my real name. It’s only during the pandemic that I felt the need to hide my identity. Specifically I hid my identity and changed my name when two or three women tried to start flame wars against me due to misunderstandings.
Before those attempts at flame wars Twitter was a network of friends, and when you’re in a network of friends you behave. Everyone knows everyone and there is the expectation that we meet in person after a few weeks or months of conversations. Not anymore. That’s where thinks become less pleasant.
The true reason for which I would not pay for FB and Twitter is that both social networks offer very little flexibility. For 8-11 USD per month you can setup your own Mastodon instance, with friends and family, or either one or the other. For five dollars per month you can setup a Linode server and build your own blog based community using WordPress if you want the little to no code solution, or other content management systems. If you’re going to pay to be part of a community, make it personal, make it local, or make it professional.
The golden age of social media has been and gone. Now Social media companies that forget that ROI, for their users was important, are penny pinching where they can. If you pay for Twitter, Facebook and other social networks you end up paying hundreds of francs, or dollars, per year, for algorithms that make you invisible, to reach friends that have better things to do. I don’t see what we’re actually paying for.