However disappointing your summer was, it can’t have been as bad as the one Twitter had thanks to Elon Musk’s $44 Billion Take-Backsie, so it’s not surprising the social media platform went for a layup today with the announcement of some good news: The edit button is coming. The only catch: It’ll only be available for subscribers of Twitter Blue, a.k.a. anyone willing to pay $4.99 a month.
For users who’ve spent years begging for the ability to edit out all those “ducking” typos, it’s like receiving a long-awaited gift with monthly automatic-renewing strings attached. On one hand, in this current digital-subscription climate, paying five bucks to access content is practically a civic duty; on the other hand, this move represents Twitter’s boldest nudge yet to getting its tap-happiest loyalists to pony up for the pleasure of being here. As someone whose brain has been so rewired by the Big Blue Bird that I’ve once stopped mid-shower to jot down a promisingly retweetable joke, the growing reality of eventually having to pay for Twitter, for either this reason or the next, feels like that moment when that grimy, sometimes-fun dive bar where you’ve been hanging out all night turns its lights on. Yikes! What am I doing here?
Twitter has always been unable to square its identity as a pseudo-public utility with its former status as a tech-world star child and monetization woes (see: last year’s lackluster Tip Jar rollout), not to mention the basic chaos of managing a public square. Most recently, as The Verge reported on Tuesday, the company’s attempts to move in on OnlyFans’ turf with a project called “Adult Content Monetization” would have forced a reckoning with the platform’s illegal content problem so massive that Twitter was unequipped to proceed (per a Twitter spokesperson, an internal team’s definitive report on Twitter’s inability to effectively police harmful sexual content “was part of a discussion, which ultimately led us to pause the workstream for the right reasons”); the challenge of turning billions of pieces of online speech into a sellable product continues to prove more difficult than Silicon Valleyites might have been led to believe. An edit button may only make things exponentially more complicated.
I’ll be honest, though. I kind of can’t wait to see what Elon will inevitably do with it—$44 billion notwithstanding, this is one possible way, at least, to get him to pay for Twitter.