Elon Musk as a sheriff, burning down the town, while a blue bird flies next to him.
The lone Muskateer is going to burn this place down to save it.

What the heck is happening with Twitter now?

Long form Tweets are here for Twitter Blue subscribers. And there are big changes on the way for Tweedeck and the Twitter API. Some people just love watching platforms burn.

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

As I mentioned last week, I’m trying to keep the Twitter-related content down to a manageable level here, and yet today’s a bit of a Twitter deep dive. The only excuse I can offer is that there's a lot of significant news, and isn't it better to just get it over with in one go?

It's just like the day I went for the 'flu jab, and ended up getting a COVID vaccine booster at the same time. One needle per arm… (I’ll come back to the AI-search impact in the coming days, SEO fans).

So, Twitter’s made a rush of announcement since we last met. Let’s go through them in turn.

Longer Tweets for Twitter Blue subscribers

Well, here’s a benefit to Twitter Blue, the paid Twitter account service that gets you the blue verified checkmark these days: 4000 character tweets. Yup, the service that once was defined by its brevity is about to get verbose:

I rather like Stephen Hackett’s take on it:

There’s some irony in Twitter becoming like a smaller, more poorly-designed Medium.

This will, in effect, reduce the number of people who feel the need to go to Medium or to screenshot the Notes app to do longer posts on Twitter. Will that be enough to get more people to sign up to Blue? Perhaps. But it’s clear that more and more features will be packed into the service. Talking of which…

Tweetdeck may be going Twitter Blue-only

Brits of 70s/80s vintage might remember the phrase “good news, chums!”, which normally heralded your favourite comic being merged with another title from the same stable. It became a herald of bad news to my generation.

Well, good news, chums!

Based on a code snippet, it looks like Twitter intends to make Tweetdeck a feature of the paid Twitter Blue accounts. Given that corporate Twitter Blue accounts may well be priced above those for standard user ones, this could make the free and really useful tool much less accessible to smaller newsrooms.

And it’s a real pain for those of us teaching in universities because we won’t be able to use Tweetdeck with the students in the same way. Gah.

More countries get Twitter Blue

Three more countries get the privilege of paying Elon for an upgraded version of a shaky service: Brazil, India, and Indonesia.

That brings the current list of countries where Twitter Blue is accessible to:

  • US
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Japan
  • the UK
  • Saudi Arabia
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Brazil

I haven’t subscribed yet because I really don’t want to give Elon money, but I’m beginning to suspect I might have to, just to keep up with what’s happening. Sadly, it is my job.

One more, and we’re done, folks.

The API changes are… changing

The changes to the Twitter API (see posts passim) were due to hit today. But, at teh last minute, changes were announced…

So, where are we now?

  • Changes hit February 13th
  • Basic access to the Twitter API is now $100 per month. Thereafter, it’s Enterprise plans.
  • There will be a free posting-only version of the API, capped at 1500 tweets a month (roughly 50 a day).

Which means:

  • Most low-cost posting apps and services will be OK
  • Most cross-posting apps will be OK
  • Most Twitter bots will be able to continue
  • Service that read from the Twitter API will be screwed, unless they pay. That, I suspect, includes the API access used for embedding Tweets in newsletters.

Beyond that? Again, 🤷🏼. Huge amounts of changes are being made to Twitter right now, with a much reduced team. It led to a significant outage last night. The changes to the code to support these new limits could well have unexpected consequences, so expect weirdness with your tools on Valentine’s Day. What a gift, Elon. Thank you so much.


Don’t do this

I saw this last night, and it annoyed me:

A tweet from the Brighton Argus
A tweet from the Brighton Argus

Note that both the Tweet and the description in the link card both avoid naming the village. They’re probably doing this to encourage click-throughs — to find out which village. (It’s Findon, if you really care.)

But given there are dozens of villages across the Sussex target area of the publication, an awful lot of people will be truly pissed off when they find they’ve essentially been tricked into clicking on a story that’s irrelevant to them. Talk about short-term traffic gain for long-term reader relationship loss.

And this feels especially tasteless, given that it was actually all about a death. Do better, Brighton Argus, as the young, online and judgemental say.

(See? I may be old, online and judgemental, but I can still learn from the young 'uns.)

Until tomorrow, chums!

X (Twitter)elon musktwitter bluetweetdeck

Adam Tinworth Twitter

Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.