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Twitter wakes from its slumber

Owen Williams says after years of little activity Twitter has woken from its slumbers and is making “meaningful changes” again.

It’s a positive view from Williams who confesses to being a Twitter loyalist.

He writes a quick summary of the recent changes:

First, Twitter launched Spaces, which allows people to host an audio room and have an actual conversation with their followers.

In other words a Clubhouse knock-off. Clubhouse was a hit when the pandemic first sent people into lockdown. Lately it has a run-down, tumbleweed rolling down main street feel.

Then there were Super Follows, which allow Twitter users to offer a paid version of their tweets and actually make money on the platform.

Another feature, Communities, offers a way to create entire timelines around topics that can only be seen by those that are part of the community, similar to a Facebook group.

There’s also Twitter Blue, the company’s new paid subscription service that provides additional premium features such as an ‘undo tweet’ timer, custom app icons, and even ad-free article access for subscribers.

Put that way, it is a lot of change in a short period following a long period when little happened.

Twitter Blue

Williams writes about his experience with Twitter Blue. He sees it as having potential.

I’m less positive about that move. The Blue $5 a month subscription isn’t a lot of money for people with decent incomes. It’s the price of a cup of coffee.

Yet there is far more benefit in a cup of coffee than in Blue. Twitter could have bundled more functionality into that subscription.

The most important point from Williams’ (and my) point of view is that Twitter has opened the API to developers once more. In recent years it has been a largely closed system.

Back in the day there were many innovative products and services built off the back of Twitter which made it a much fuller and more valuable service.

Twitter is still weak when it comes to closing down offensive and violent material. But that appears to be improving even though there’s a lot of collateral damage to more innocent material along the way.

The most necessary change would be to defang the armies of bots that weaponise the social media service to spread misinformation, threats and fear. Like Facebook, it could do with more reliance on human editors to spot the worst offenders.