Twitter Blue: Top 5 business reasons to subscribe

If you tweet often or rely on Twitter for news and research, Andy Wolber thinks that a subscription to Twitter Blue offers excellent value.

Photo of hand holding iPhone with Twitter Blue Feature settings screen displayed (Undo Tweet, Reader, Theme, App icon, Custom navigation, Labs)

Photo: Andy Wolber/TechRepublic

In early November 2021, Twitter Blue launched in the U.S. and New Zealand, following the service's mid-year debut in Australia and Canada. For about the price of a latte ($2.99 per month in the U.S.), Twitter Blue enhances reading and saving tweets, gives subscribers interface customization options, and includes an Undo tweet button to help you catch typos. However, note that as the service rolls out, Twitter Blue features vary across Twitter on iOS, Android and Twitter.com.

Social media professionals and avid Twitter users will likely find the five features highlighted below worth the cost, since the features can help you not only reduce errors, but also streamline your use of the app. 

1. You can undo tweets

Twitter Blue subscribers gain access to an Undo button, but the option might more accurately be identified as a time delay before you tweet. Subscribers may set a delay of 5, 10, 20, 30 or 60 seconds, as well as select whether that delay applies to original tweets or Replies (Figure A, left). During the delay, your tweet displays on screen, along with Send Now and Undo options (Figure A, right). This gives you the chance to review it and to catch any typos or errors. Select Send Now to end the delay countdown and tweet immediately.

Figure A

Two screenshots from the Twitter iOS app: Left, shows toggles for which Tweets to delay (Original Tweets, Replies, Threads, Quote Tweets, Poll Tweets, View Tweet after sending) and the Undo Tweet timing option, set to 30 seconds. Right, shows a draft Tweet, with Uploading… below it, and the Send now and Undo buttons displayed.

Twitter Blue subscribers may adjust the duration of the delay before a tweet becomes public (left). During the delay, you may choose to Send now or Undo (right).

2. You can customize navigation 

Subscribers who use Twitter on iOS may select up to five navigation buttons to display along with the Home button for fast access to Twitter features. In the Twitter iPhone app as of mid-November 2021, available options include: Explore, Spaces, Communities, Notifications, Messages, Bookmarks, Lists, Profile, Top Articles and Monetization (Figure B). While the difference between two taps (i.e., tap to display a menu, then tap an option from that menu) and one tap (i.e., tap directly on an option) is precisely one tap, the customized navigation option ensures one-tap access to Twitter features important to you.

Figure B

Two screenshots from the iOS app. Home button is always selected. (left) Customize navigation screen with default settings of Explore, Spaces, Communities, Notifications, Messages. (right) Customize navigation screen with Explore, Notifications, Top Articles, Bookmarks and Lists selected.

In the Twitter iOS app, customize the navigation for one-tap access to the features important to you. Note how the bottom menu changes once settings are saved.

3. You can use the Thread Reader

Twitter made it possible to write threads—a sequence of multiple tweets intended to be read in sequence—a while ago. Now, Twitter Blue makes it easier to read threads. The View Thread in Reader button hides metadata (e.g., date/time of tweet) and action icons (e.g., Reply, Like, Retweet, Share and the More menu). The thread displays in the Reader with a subtle horizontal line between each tweet (Figure C).

Figure C

Two screenshots: (left) Two tweets, with dates, times, and reply, retweet, like, and share buttons displayed, along with a "View thread in Reader" button. (right) Text, video, and links, displayed, with most metadata and actions hidden.

The "View thread in Reader" option displays in threads. Tap it to display and read thread tweets with metadata and other actions hidden.

4. You can see the Top Articles

Top Articles displays a list of the most-shared articles by people you follow over the past 24 hours, as shown in Figure D. In Twitter.com on the web, for example, Top Articles shows 25 tweets, each followed by a Read Article button and text to indicate how many people had tweeted the article. (For those of you who were fans of Nuzzel, this feature will seem familiar. Here's hoping that Twitter provides similar capabilities for Twitter Lists, along with the ability to adjust the time period.)

Figure D

Screenshots: (left) iOS app shows icons of people below an article, with text, e.g., 3 people Tweeted; (right) Web adds a "Read Article" button and, when a Top Article is selected, displays the Tweets (in a column to the right) that shared the article.

Top Articles, shown here in Twitter on iOS (left) and on the web (right), displays a list of the most-shared articles in your network.

5. You can can put bookmarks in folders

Bookmark folders (Figure E) make it possible to organize tweets you want to refer to later. Previously, every bookmark ended up in a single long list. With folders, when you bookmark a tweet, the system displays an Add to Folder prompt. You don't have to place bookmarks in folders, but it is a nice convenience to be able to group bookmarked tweets. For example, I tend to bookmark tweets with news links and research reports, as well as tweets related to potential article topics. With folders, I can store these tweets separately. 

Figure E

Two Twitter iOS screenshots: (left) Tweet with a "Bookmark saved" text and "Add to folder" button in an overlay on a Tweet that has been saved, (right) Folder selector prompt, titled "Add to Folder", with two folders (Research & Reports, Writing topics) displayed, with a + in the upper right (to add a new folder).

Twitter Blue subscribers may create folders to organize bookmarked tweets. By default, bookmarks will be placed in an All Bookmarks folder. If you then tap Add to Folder (as shown on the left), you may either select an existing folder or create a new one (right).

Additional Twitter Blue benefits

Subscribers also gain a few other reading and display features. Several major publishers have partnered with Twitter to remove article ads for Twitter Blue subscribers. These articles are labeled with Ad-free with Twitter Blue indicator text. Additionally, subscribers may select from a set of custom app themes and icon colors.

Twitter Blue subscribers also have the opportunity to explore features that Twitter is testing. Two labs features available at launch include the ability to pin conversations and upload longer videos. On iOS, swipe from left to right on a Twitter messaging conversation, then tap the pin to keep the conversation at the top of the messages screen. And, with Twitter from a web browser on a computer, upload videos up to 10 minutes long, instead of the standard 140 second (or, two minutes and 20 seconds) length limit.

What's your take on Twitter Blue?

I subscribed to Twitter Blue immediately when it became available. I use Twitter more than an hour each day for news, work and general-interest reading. For me, the custom navigation (yes, I added Top Articles, Bookmarks and Lists to my bottom navigation bar), and the delay to review before tweeting are useful.

If you use Twitter and are in a portion of the world where Twitter Blue is available, have you subscribed? Why or why not? If you use Twitter Blue for work, which features do you find most helpful? Let me know your thoughts about Twitter Blue, either in the comments below, or, more appropriately, on Twitter (@awolber). 

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