I’ve been tweeting since 2007 and, given that Twitter was founded in 2006, I consider myself a pretty loyal user. As a writer, I’ve long been an advocate of free content in general as well as social media tools. That’s why when businesses begin charging for their previously free content or for a premium membership, I find myself put off. Every news site I can think of, for instance, has put its gates up. It’s not so much the relatively cheap subscription cost but rather the principle itself.
That said, I’m not sure what to make of Twitter Blue, Twitter’s first-ever subscription service, designed primarily for use on an iPhone. Judging from some of the premium features, investing in Twitter Blue could be more valuable for businesses and other “power users” than your everyday individual.
Undoing What’s Been Done
Twitter Blue, which launched its initial test in Canadian and Australian markets in early June, offers a wide range of paid tools including the one that everyone has been waiting for—the hallowed “undo tweet” option, which allows you to “unsend” a tweet. You have exactly 30 seconds to click Undo to make edits before it posts and blows up the internet, all because of your typos.
Also, despite what you might think at first glance, “undo tweet” should not be mistaken for an “edit tweet” function, something that Twitter has been loathe to do since its inception. In an interview with Wired in January 2020, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey reiterated that there would be no editing of tweets. But he also said he didn’t think they’d ever implement an “undo tweet” option.
Dorsey says the company toyed with introducing a short delay between when a user clicks send on a tweet and when it is actually posted—kind of like Gmail’s “undo send” feature—but the company will “probably never do it.”
Never say probably never.
Outside of “undo tweet/send” capability, Twitter Blue subscribers will have access to such exclusive add-ons as enhanced customization; auto responses; categorizing tweets; profile badges; social listening features; detailed analytics; and other advanced publishing tools. In other words, businesses like e-commerce would probably benefit most as opposed to someone with a personal account.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the Twitter Blue perks:
- Bookmark It: If you’ve been dying to organize and manage your saved content, Bookmark Folders is a nice feature, especially if you’ve been missing the Dewey Decimal System.
- Read It: Reader Mode provides a “more beautiful reading experience” and makes it easier to read through those long, tedious threads. Assuming you want to keep up with long, tedious threads.
- Customize It: Spruce up your profile with custom badges, stickers, new color themes, and “hashflags,” or emoji-linked hashtags. You probably didn’t even know you needed those until now.
- Shoot It: Use the video tool to incorporate longer videos into your tweets. Considering that people spend 26% more time viewing ads on Twitter than on any other social platform, that’s a pretty good perk.
- Say It: Add auto responses to your tweet replies for that uber-personal touch.
- Engage It: Receive additional insights into your tweet engagement and discussions concerning your Twitter handle.
- Survey It: Get detailed feedback on how your ads are performing through user surveys.
- Dedicated Customer Support: Priceless.
Twitter Blue Means Business
Clearly social media continues to be one of the most effective marketing tools for brands, which is why Twitter can start rolling out subscription services. Consider the following Twitter stats:
- Consumers are 38% more likely to talk about brands and products on Twitter than on any other social platform.
- More than half of Twitter users are more likely to be the first to buy new products.
- Twitter is three times more efficient at driving brand conversation than other digital advertising platforms.
Perhaps one of the key advantages to upgrading your Twitter account is the premium social listening service. The fact that social listening is such a critical factor in monitoring consumer sentiment could actually make this an invaluable tool for marketers.
Tweet Me the Money
The Twitter subscription model was bound to happen at some point. Since the beginning, they’ve largely relied on advertising for revenue. Launching a premium service provides them with an additional source of revenue. And it’s likely that Twitter has been exploring additional higher cost subscription services to diversify even more.
In “Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity,” published last November, self-made millionaire (and frequent critic of Jack Dorsey) Scott Galloway made the argument for a scaled Twitter subscription model—not a premium opt-in service but for Twitter across the board. Whether you’re a large enterprise, influencer, or an individual with over 2,000 followers, you’d be charged for it. (Galloway, you could say, has a vested interest in the future of the company, owning 334,000 shares of Twitter stock.)
But for those of us who pass on Twitter Blue, and balk at paying for a service that’s been free since it began, fear not. Twitter assures us that “a free Twitter is not going away, and never will.”
At least not yet.