Twitter Blue — the social network’s first subscription product that adds an undo button to tweets among other minor additions like changing the color of icons and adding folders for bookmarks — launched on Thursday. It’s limited to Canada and Australia for now but has already garnered attention for lacking the features people would be willing to pay Twitter for, like no ads, or better tools to handle harassment.
Which makes Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s thread today, the day after the product launched, somewhat humorous and frustrating. What can we say: the guy loves to talk about bitcoin, even when other more pressing matters are at hand!
I’m not a Bitcoin expert, but sure, making a product in the open, with the goal of being inclusive and open source sounds fine by me, especially since Square is already heavily invested in the currency. As with most things people tweet, best to take this as off-the-cuff musing rather than an official product announcement. Dorsey’s made similar pronouncements via Twitter thread — like funding a decentralized version of Twitter — that have only made small amounts of public progress since they were tweeted into the ether.
What this might highlight, though, is how Dorsey’s attention is split acting as the CEO of both Twitter and payment company Square. The issue has been raised before by one of the company’s investors, Elliott Management. Running Twitter is a job he’s been increasingly checked out of, with the Wall Street Journal reporting in October that Dorsey is “hands-off to the extreme, delegating most major decisions to subordinates in part so he can pursue his personal passions.” He came out and said today at the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami that if he wasn’t running Square and Twitter, he’d be working on bitcoin. He seems pretty good at finding a way to work on bitcoin anyway.
Twitter’s recent sprint of new product announcements suggests someone wants to change things at Twitter. Social audio features like Spaces and creator subscription systems like Super Follows are legitimately interesting — just maybe not to Dorsey. But as Platformer’s Casey Newton notes, Twitter Blue, as an example of the company’s new focus on power users, doesn’t really offer many features that power users want. And if his silence on the subject is any indication, perhaps Dorsey and users are aligned in their disinterest towards the paid service.
Jack, if you’re listening, there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from becoming a wandering ascetic, living off fake money you minted from an overclocked GPU. Just please, if you hate it so much, let someone else run your website.