This month, Twitter rolled out a shiny new subscription version of the app in Canada and Australia. The paid-for extra service, Twitter Blue, offers features such as an “undo tweet” button, bookmarks, and a reader mode.
Although not yet available for users worldwide, the limited launch is designed to “gain a deeper understanding” of what customers are looking for, according to the company. So, what kind of impact can we expect this rather unprecedented move to have on the social media landscape more broadly?
Who is Twitter Blue for?
For casual Twitter users, this new service probably doesn’t mean much. The company was quick to dispel concerns from the public and has insisted that the free-to-use version of the platform will remain permanently.
On the other hand, Twitter Blue is intended for those who take their Twitter use seriously and are looking for a premium product. As they explained in a statement:
We’ve heard from people that use Twitter a lot, that we don’t always build power features that meet their needs. We took this feedback to heart, and are developing and iterating upon a solution that will give the people who use Twitter the most what they are looking for: access to exclusive features and perks that will take their experience on Twitter to the next level.
What are the benefits?
For around $3.50 a month, Twitter Blue gives users the ability to create bookmark folders and switch to a reader mode. These are both nice features that provide a more comfortable and less cluttered Twitter experience.
Perhaps most importantly, though, Twitter Blue subscribers will have access to the all-holy edit button. A feature that has long been asked for, this new function means that once you’ve sent that tweet out into the world, you have 30 seconds to quickly hit that edit button and fix any spelling mistakes, dictator mishaps, or judgment errors.
Is this indicative of a changing social media landscape?
Personally, I was very intrigued to see Twitter taking this step. It is a bold move, as they are one of the first social media platforms in the world that has started to charge a premium to its power users to access specific tools, unlike Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc.
Of course, we’re used to seeing premium features on professional sites like LinkedIn, but pure social media sites like Twitter have so far not treaded into this water. This is a big deal and could potentially change the way we look at and use social media.
A solution to evolving privacy regulations?
Undoubtedly this has got other social media platforms thinking, too. This switch to a subscription-based model could, for example, also be a way forward for Facebook in light of the iSO 14.5 update and various privacy issues that Apple is forcing upon them. It’s an innovative approach, and I’m willing to bet it is a sign of things to come.
At GANDT, we’re definitely interested to see how this plays out and will be keeping a close eye on who uses it and how. We will keep you posted on any updates and will certainly be trying it out for ourselves once it arrives in mainland Europe.