Image of a phone displaying a tweet reading "The undo button on twitter will start a new era"

Please Help Me Understand the Point of a Twitter “Undo” Button

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Starting today, Twitter’s new paid subscription service, Twitter Blue, is available in the U.S. Among the features available for the $2.99 monthly fee is an “undo” button, allowing you to pay for the privilege of what is essentially pre-deleting tweets.

Basically, it looks like Twitter Blue allows you to set a timer for up to 60 seconds so that if you realize a tweet has a typo or some other mistake (or maybe you realize something you said was assholish or unnecessary to the discourse), you can recall it before it posts.

This service has already been available in Canada and Australia for a few months and I’m genuinely curious to know if people find it useful because I simply do not understand.

It’s not that this is a terrible idea. (Gmail has a similar undo function that lasts just a few seconds.) I’m just wondering who’s going to actually use the timer, waiting up to a minute for their tweet to post, without just impatiently clicking through.

It’s not clear why or if an undo button is really more useful than the already-existing (and free) delete button, although deleting and reposting tweets comes with its own set of issues, as people have been pointing out.

There are other features in Twitter Blue that are potentially more interesting than the undo button. “Reader mode” turns long threads into easier-to-read paragraphs, similar, it sounds, to the (again, already free) Thread Reader App.

The service also offers bookmarks folders. Personally, this is actually tempting. I bookmark a ton of tweets, and for various reasons, from ideas for articles to just funny things I want to send to someone later. Folders could be useful. Throw in a mass-edit function to clean out those folders and that might be worth $3 a month.

There’s also a feature that partners with news outlets, offering ad-free article access. As someone who gets a lot of their news from their Twitter timeline, this sounded super interesting … until I read the details.

Twitter Blue is partnering with more than 300 U.S.-based outlets to offer ad-free articles, and will share revenue with those outlets. The example used in a promo video is an article from The Atlantic, which is a paywalled site. It seemed like maybe this would be a way to read trending articles that you can’t otherwise access.

Except as that tweet says, this feature doesn’t let you pass paywalls, so even as a subscriber, you might not be able to read the articles. Also, Twitter Blue users will still see ads on Twitter itself. So for anyone looking to see fewer ads, this sounds like a wash and therefore why would you pay money for nothing?

Am I missing something? Are you planning on signing up for Twitter Blue and if so, please explain it to me!

via GIPHY

(image: Twitter)
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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.