You've seen it in testing, and now it's here, with Twitter officially launching its new 'Twitter Blue' subscription service, which will enable users to pay a monthly fee to gain access to a range of additional tweet features and tools.
As explained by Twitter:
"We’ve heard from the people that use Twitter a lot, and we mean 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."
As you can see in the above screenshot, Twitter Blue will give users access to a range of new tools to enhance their tweet experience.
Those tools, in this initial offering, are:
- Undo tweets - As it sounds, 'Undo tweets' enables users to retract their sent tweets within up to 30 seconds of posting, which could help in catching those small grammatical errors and mistakes, or to maybe re-think your text entirely. Twitter Blue subscribers will get access to a "customizable timer of up to 30 seconds" to click ‘Undo’ before the Tweet, reply, or thread gets posted to their timeline - so you can make it 10 seconds, 20 seconds, etc. It's not tweet editing, but based on what we know, this is likely the closest you'll ever get to an editing feature.
- Bookmark Folders - This element enables users to categorize their saved tweets into assigned topic folders, providing more ways to manage content in the app. That, eventually, could be particularly handy for eCommerce listings in tweets, which Twitter is also currently developing.
- Reader Mode - Reader Mode enables you to turn tweet threads into clutter-free, easy-to-read text, so that you can read all the tweeted content in a single stream.
- Color theme - Twitter Blue subscribers will also be able to select from a range of color options for their UX display. These options are actually already available on desktop, but this will provide the same, alternative color settings within the Twitter app.
- App icon - Twitter Blue subscribers will also get a new selection of custom app icons that they can use on their device.
- Dedicated Support - And finally, Blue users will also get access to dedicated subscription customer support. How much priority subscriber requests are given, and how significant of an improvement that will be in response, will likely relate to Twitter Blue take-up, and how that relates to internal capacity.
You can see the new 'Bookmark Folders', 'Undo Tweets' and 'Reader Mode' options here, which provides some perspective on how, exactly, these tools might be used.
There are some interesting options here - maybe not ground-breaking, and really, not surprising, given that they've been widely reported via early leaks. But this is what the initial Twitter Blue offering will be.
Twitter Blue will first be made available to users in Canada and Australia, and priced at $3.49 CAD/$4.49 AUD, respectively. Twitter plans to gather feedback from this initial test pool, before making the option available to more regions.
Also, Twitter is keen to clarify:
"And for those wondering, no, a free Twitter is not going away, and never will. This subscription offering is simply meant to add enhanced and complementary features to the already existing Twitter experience for those who want it."
So there'll be no change to Twitter as you know it, just some additional tools for people to buy in to, if they choose.
And some users will pay. While there's been some skepticism, and criticism, around Twitter's move into paid features, especially given that they're not major, 'edit tweets' type options that would immediately justify the extra cost. While these initial features may not be must-have add-ons, a lot of Twitter users will likely be willing to shell out a few bucks a month just for a new color scheme, or to test out the 'undo tweets' option and see how it works.
One less coffee per month would give you access to a few new features. It could be worth it, and I'm telling you now, many users will sign on as soon as they're able to access these advanced tools.
And Twitter doesn't need a heap of subscribers to make the project worth its while. As we've noted previously, even if only 1% of Twitter users sign-up and pledge that monthly fee, that would still equate to around $7 million per month (+$21m per quarter) in direct revenue for the company, straight up. It's easy to see then, how this could quickly become a hugely profitable addition, and a massive earner for the company, which is aiming to significantly boost its revenue run rate over the next few years.
And it likely isn't done there - other reports have suggested that Twitter will also look to variable tiers of subscriber tools, that might cost more, and offer other features. Businesses might eventually be able to sign up for 'Twitter Green', for example, at, say, $9.99 per month, which would give them exclusive new tools, like maybe new in-app icons, improved analytics features, or even general access to Twitter's in-development business profiles.
If Twitter started charging for these, again, brands will sign-on, and you only need to look at the above equation to get some scope as to the impact that could have on the company's bottom line.
So, if you don't like these features, if you think Twitter's taking a big swing and a miss, if there's no way you'd ever pay for these tools. Cool. Don't. But the broader logic here is sound, and this could end up being a big earner for the company.
Twitter Blue is available from today for users in Canada and Australia, while you can also follow the new @TwitterBlue account for further info.