All the following discussion is merely assumptions of what would happen…
Maybe for the people above 25, Generation X or Digital Inmigrants, it makes sense to pay a reasonable amount of money to continue having the service, because:
a) They are more adverse to change, and therefore, they are willing to avoid going through a new learning curve.
b) They are used to pay for content, magazines, books, music (CDs, Vinyl, etc).
However, these are not the people that would make any business model sustainable, if any Social Media platform is thinking of continue existing in the next 10 years, then they should engage the “Digital natives”. These, contrary to the digital inmigrants, won’t be willing to pay for any of this services because:
a) They are not afraid of change, they like trying new platforms.
b) They have grown absorbing free content, wikipedia (vs. encyclopedias), limewire (vs. CDs), youtube (vs. TV).
c) They are more capable of finding new platform to migrate and substitute current, and they will find them.
On this last bullet, I would like to expand. In order for the market to provide alternative free platforms, there should be an incentive for creators to develop a “new free facebooklike model”. What is that incentive? Shouldn’t the business model leverage on that incentive?
I think that incentive is the amount of information you freely provide to social media. If so, why the business model is not behind using this information to reach consumers more effectively. Maybe advertisers should migrating from buying TGRPs from TV broadcasters to buying “more targeted reach” from Social Media.
One final thought, aren’t we already paying Twitter and Facebook with the huge amount of information we give them for free?…