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Twitter goes blue, but will people pay?

Peter Griffin, Editor. 11 November 2021, 8:25 am
Twitter goes blue, but will people pay?

New Zealand has become an early region to test Twitter users' appetite for a subscription service, with the social network launching Twitter Blue here.

Twitter Blue will cost $4.49 a month, "the same as a flat white" according to Twitter, and feature a handful of improvements not available to regular users.

Twitter Blue users will enjoy an ad-free experience when visiting 300 US-based news sites from Twitter and gain early access to new features developed by Twitter Blue Labs.

Current features on offer include the ability to upload videos of up to 10 minutes duration, compared to 2 minutes for non-subscribers, the ability for users to pin their favourite conversation to the top of their direct message feed and a more customisable profile.

Screenshot 2021-11-10 at 10.32.12 PM.png

Counting down... Twitter Blue's Undo Tweet function

The often asked for the ability to edit tweets after they've been sent isn't a Twitter Blue feature, but there is Undo Tweet, which allows subscribers to "preview and perfect Tweets", giving them a 30-second timer to undo the tweet before it is sent. It's a bit like the delayed send function email providers like Gmail provide, which has saved me from embarrassment on several occasions.

Undo Tweet will save many embarrassing typos and auto-correct fails as well. Other subscriber features include a new reader experience which will make it easier to navigate lengthy Tweet threads and the ability for a Twitter user to easily see the most-shared articles in their network over the last 24 hours.

In a nod to the importance of news content makers to Twitter's ecosystem, the social network is undertaking to give "a portion" of revenue from Twitter Blue to news publishers that subscribers access.

Removing the ads while supporting news publishers is a worthy goal. But there's a catch. If you want to visit a paywalled website like the New York Times or the Washington Post, you will still need a subscription to that outlet - a subscription to Twitter Blue won't give you automatic access.

New Zealand joins Australia and Canada in gaining access to Twitter Blue alongside its debut in the US.

Twitter Blue is part of Twitter's efforts to reduce its reliance on advertising, which currently accounts for nearly 90% of its revenue. the question now is whether a significant chunk of Twitter's userbase is willing to shell out for additional functionality. 




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