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Twitter’s new product road map emphasizes creator-friendliness and user experience

The news: Twitter has released a number of changes to its creator tools that it plans to release now and in the next few months.

Some of the most interesting highlights include:

  • Tips: Users can send and receive one-time payments via third-party services such as Venmo, Patreon, and GoFundMe. This was rolled out Thursday globally on iOS, with Android coming in the near future. Twitter is adding multiple payment services to Tips, including Strike, which allows Bitcoin payments.
  • Safety Mode: Accounts that use potentially harmful language or engage in repeated, uninvited contact with another user will be automatically blocked for seven days (if the receiving user has Safety Mode turned on in settings). This feature is currently being tested across iOS, Android, and the web.
  • "Automated Accounts": This is a new label for “good bot” accounts like news aggregators or public service accounts, so that users know whether they’re talking to a real person or not. Twitter said the feature will eventually be extended to differentiate brand accounts from business accounts (something that’s been available on Facebook and Instagram for years), as well as memorialized accounts.

What this means: The updates show how Twitter is prioritizing personalization and privacy in its creator push.

  • It’s a far cry from the free-for-all that Twitter has been historically, where all tweets are public and vitriol is common. In its announcement, Twitter also mentioned a number of upgrades to Spaces, its voice-driven Clubhouse competitor, and reemphasized Communities, its new Facebook Groups competitor that lets users interact exclusively with curated groups of like-minded individuals.

The competition: As TikTok and Instagram continue to dominate the overall creator landscape, Twitter’s updates seem to be focused on attracting and retaining a certain kind of influencer: writers, journalists, and mainstream celebrities, particularly intellectual thought leaders.

  • “We have an opportunity to help those creators earn an income based on their contributions to the public conversation,” Twitter said in a statement.
  • We previously reported on Super Follows, where creators can charge for access to exclusive content (and has reportedly gotten off to an auspicious start). We also covered Ticketed Spaces, a tool for creators to set prices and audience sizes for audio experiences and programming that will “give financial, technical, and marketing support” to those interested in creating recurring Spaces.

What this means: These moves come as Twitter needs to find ways to bring in more revenues, particularly as advertising is proving to be a challenge.

  • According to our forecasts, Twitter will bring in $47.37 in ad revenues per US monthly active user in 2022; for Facebook, that figure will be 565% higher at $314.83.
  • “Right now, everything on Twitter is public and permanent,” said Jasmine Enberg, eMarketer senior analyst at Insider Intelligence. “Giving users the ability to personalize their experiences and share in smaller groups may help make some people more comfortable tweeting, potentially heightening engagement.”
  • Spaces are presently open to brands, and Communities presumably will be as well. If Twitter can remain patient with these new features (it introduced disappearing Fleets in November 2020 and retired them just nine months later), it’s possible that at least some may catch on and become either revenue-generating, improve platform stickiness, or both.