Twitter is exploring the idea of a premium service for professionals that could charge $20 per month. The reason? Well, because the network isn’t making any money and it needs to find quick answers to some difficult financial questions.

One such answer could be creating a premium version of the network’s TweetDeck, which is already aimed at professional users. So could Twitter’s financial survival rest on subscription-based services rather than ads – and would it be such a bad thing?

Would you pay $20 for TweetDeck?

This is pretty much what it all comes down to. Can Twitter devise enough extra functionality into TweetDeck to excite professionals about the idea of paying $20 every month to use it? Well, here’s a look at the additional features being touted for the conceptual premium TweetDeck:

 

That’s a pretty long list of features and you have to say some of them will look pretty tempting to Twitter marketers, journalists and other power users. Managing multiple accounts, advanced publishing features and cross-posting to other social networks are all major features, there’s no doubt about that.

We’re used to paying up for this kind of functionality third-party tools anyway and often more than $20 per month. Twitter will be hoping it can convince professional users to spend that money with the network itself rather than buying this functionality from elsewhere.

At this stage, the notion of a paid TweetDeck is very much in the conceptual stage, although we know Twitter is seriously considering the idea. Whether users will consider buying into it remains to be seen and, although we think there’s enough functionality in the idea to justify $20 per month, we suspect Twitter might have to do a little more to stoke up excitement.

Can social networks survive without advertising?

It’s fair to say Twitter hasn’t been the success story everyone expected it to be when the company went public in 2013. It’s not difficult to diagnose the problems either: a simple mix of stagnating user numbers and failing to generate revenue from ads. So the blueprint set out by Facebook hasn’t really worked out for Twitter but, then again, who has it really worked out for other besides Facebook?

Snap has just kicked off its own public venture with an impressive start but Facebook remains the only network to make going public look so easy (and it hasn’t always been easy). Perhaps Twitter needs to focus on making it the Twitter way and other social networks should follow suit.

If Twitter can make it without the majority of its income coming in from advertising, it would send a message out to other networks that there is another way. It wouldn’t mean the end for social advertising but it could mean networks put more focus into building better platforms and less on aggressive advertising tactics – and hopefully less expensive ads in return.