Is Twitter Blue the Start of Paid Social Media Tiers?

LinkedIn Premium is expensive, premium Business costs $59.99 per month, or $575.88 if you pay for the year. That’s over 42,000 Indian Rupees. Twitter now has its own premium tier as well called Twitter Blue. This is an op-ed on how social media feels in 2021.

For those pesky daily active users, it sounds like almost a good deal. Twitter Blue is designed for power users who are willing to pay a monthly fee for exclusive features. Exclusive features like bookmarking, color templates and?

The beta is being rolled out not yet in the U.S. The service is rolling out to users in Canada and Australia respectively for $3.49 and $4.49 in local currencies per month. The company did not say when Twitter Blue will become available for U.S. users. Twitter blues will be able to undo tweets, which sounds like a highly useful mechanism.

It’s the company’s first attempt at a subscription business model and could diversify Twitter’s revenue streams. Twitter is basically failing in Ads even compared to Snap and Pinterest. Its user growth is not impressive and its become a highly censored platform for content.

The company’s plans for the subscription service had been previously scooped by app researcher Jane Manchun Wong, one of our favorite reverse engineer snoops. I have myself made up at least five different titles for what she does.

The limited launch is designed to “gain a deeper understanding” of what customers are looking for. With the slow death of journalism, the quality of content we can find on Twitter in recent years has certainly been diminished. They have started a flood of features, most of which are highly questionable taking a page out of LinkedIn’s approach.

In Canada and Australia, the subscription will cost $3.49 CAD or $4.49 AUD, respectively. That’s not crazy expensive, but who needs another subscription? Streaming and Amazon Prime, Spotify and Apple have already complicated our relationship to subscriptions.

So what indeed is this next level of the Twitter experience?

  • Bookmark Folders: A way to manage and organize saved Tweets.
  • Undo Tweet: The ability to preview and revise a Tweet before it goes live. Users can set a customizable timer of up to 30 seconds to click “undo.”
  • Reader Mode: A “more beatiful” reading experience for long threads, turning them into easy-to-read text for a more seamless view.
  • Visual Customization: The ability to select a custom app icon for a device’s home screen and a range of in-app color themes.
  • Dedicated Customer Support: Access to dedicated subscription Twitter customer support.

As if ARPU wasn’t enough, social media platforms are trying to find ways to monetize better their power users. While Snap and TikTok continue to pay a lot of rewards to actually content creators, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter continue to low-ball them. Stories (called Fleets on Twitter) on these platforms are more than a little pathetic. It’s a race to the bottom in user experience.

It’s somewhat upsetting to see how social media and journalism online is evolving. Creating premium paid tiers on platforms is like creating caste-systems online. People are willing to pay for Premium on LinkedIn, but the benefits are not so clear unless you work in sales or human resources or your company pays for it for some unknown reason. I am a power user on LinkedIn, I don’t have LinkedIn Premium. They cap my followers at 200,000 and Newsletters at 200,000 followers for other reasons.

Do I want access to exclusive perks on social media to take a bite out of my wallet? Do I want to support censorship online while people like Jack Dorsey continues to be part of a group that pumps Bitcoin or turns Square into a bank? Twitter is nearly as toxic a place as Reddit, and human interaction there for me personally is without a genuine experience. Twitter wants to bundle things to improve monetization.

As if I’m having memorable experiences on Twitter I’d want to revisit? It’s all so ridiculous and becoming a bit perverse. Silicon Valley keeps failing in ethics for greed.

Twitter Blue’s flagship feature, Undo Tweet. While not the Edit button users really want, it will allow you to quickly “unsend” a tweet when you spot a typo or make some other kind of mistake — like forgetting to tag someone, for instance. Did Twitter remind me that my tweet might have been offensive? Better correct myself. Opps, I’m no longer on the platform.

Twitter Blue is simply more evidence of the nefarious direction social media is heading in. I’m nostalgic for a Twitter that no longer exists. I’m nostalgic for an internet that actually cared about my mental health. More bells and whistles aren’t the answer for a better user experience. But engineers and leaders at Twitter, Linked, Medium or other platforms no longer care.

Clearly LinkedIn Premium and Twitter Blue are just the beginning of a subscription of everything reality that includes Apple, Disney, Amazon, Netflix, etc…. Meanwhile for a person on the internet the future feels like caste systems and social credit surveillance as an inevitable dystopia of what corporations and authoritarian regimes will do to us online.

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