Almost all the social networks now have a Premium category, which, along with advertising, is one of the few ways they have of making a profit from their platform. That’s why some of them don’t just tell you about it once, but bombard you with strongly worded invitations to sign up. These invitation messages are on the increase. If you put up a post advertising for a particular profile on Linkedin, you will get a message reminding you that Premium membership lets you send out large numbers of such advertisements. If you want to send out your CV in the hope of landing the perfect job, you’ll get a message reminding you that Job Seeker Premium guarantees that your CV will be on top of the pile the employers have to read…. With Linkedin Premium, you will be able to send an email to another member of Linkedin who is not one of your "contacts". With luck, you might be contacting a potential employer or client.
You get the picture: unless you have Premium status, forget it. It will be hard for you to make new "friends" or find that great job. Whatever happened to the original values of the web, free and free of charge? At this rate, it looks as if what the social networks are offering free of charge will no longer be worth much at all. You won’t be able to do anything except look up the status of your contacts… There were rumours that Twitter was going to develop a Premium version, but the Twitter membership went mad: some of them claimed that Premium members would be able to post longer messages and that their status would gain them more "followers". Then it was revealed as a hoax, but not before Twitter had had the chance to test the Premium idea with its members. The latest is that Twitter is considering a Premium offer for businesses… we’ll have to wait and see.
Facebook is not, for the moment, charging for its services, but it has chosen a different route. It is offering a Premium membership that gives members access to accurate statistics on the people who have visited their profile, or the right to change the settings of their profile… with free membership, there are restrictions. You must inform all your contacts that you are upgrading to Premium status and you also have to invite them to join you as part of this privileged group. Facebook encourages you to do its advertising for it. You have to send invitations to all your contacts, at the risk of looking like a spammer. It is hard nowadays to handle all the invitations from our friends on Facebook to join some group, download some application, or sign some online petition. Not content to waste your contacts’ time, Facebook is obliging you to spend your own time reading advertising. You are asked to click on 2 advertising pop-ups before you can even activate your Premium status. In the end, if there are going to be so many obstacles to keeping your status, you ask yourself whether you might just as well get out the plastic. All that said, the term Premium is a success, as just about everyone wants to have that status. Some people are as proud of having achieved Premium status as their parents were of becoming members of the Rotary Club. The term Premium, once the preserve of a few luxury goods, has become more widespread since the social networks adopted it. Nowadays, nobody is bothered when they see a privileged offer at a higher price – quite the reverse, they want it too. The term Premium has even changed from its original marketing meaning: it no longer means a really top-quality product, but any product or service offering the consumer something "extra". In other words, it now appears in fields other than that of luxury goods. You could hardly call Premium membership of Linkedin, which internet users think is quite expensive at around 50 euros a year, a luxury product. The fact is that the Premium concept gives the illusion of belonging to a privileged social class for a price that is still more than reasonable. This explains why businesses and companies have taken it up, whatever kind of product or service they are offering.
Now, every service company has to have a premium line. Publishers offer you their "Premium collection", video games have a Premium version, and Orange has launched a Premium subscription with more video games ….Before long we’ll have the "Premium Pizza" (extra cheese and mushrooms), the Premium surgeon (one who doesn’t mess up his operations), and why not "Premium Partner" membership, giving you access to the nicest, richest, most intelligent men on the dating websites? Actually, Meetic and co. might already have thought of that one — I’d better just check.