While Twitter’s subscription product has been available in Canada and Australia since the summer, Twitter Blue took a big step forward this week with the rollout of a bunch of new features and a launch of the service in the USA and New Zealand.
Regular readers of this newsletter won’t be surprised by many of the new features—they’ve been showing up in app code for weeks—but in practice they make for a compelling package.
Getting ad-free access to sites like the Verge, Insider, and BuzzFeed News is good (although it doesn’t break through paywalls, so sites like Insider and The Atlantic will still limit the articles you see unless you pay them).
The Nuzzel-like ‘Top Stories’ which shows the most-shared links by the people you follow, is very useful for catching up, although a last-minute bug on iOS means it’s only available on the web and on Android for now. And ‘Thread Reader’ genuinely does make threads more pleasant to read.
That’s all on top of features like ‘undo tweet’ (get a quick chance to stop typos before your tweet publishes), and a customisable nav bar, app icon, and in-app colour theme.
It won’t be a package that appeals to everyone, but power users should really appreciate it. And if Twitter can make it a success, it will have proved an old piece of social media ‘common sense’ wrong - the idea that subscription packages for consumer social media are a non-starter because you want as many people as possible using the service as possible.
Given how many users have begged to pay for a ‘Twitter Pro’ or ‘Facebook Pro’ for years, this is an experiment worth running.
Now, where’s that UK launch, Twitter?