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I've 15 years of experience in media product & technology. By day, I work at a mainstream news site. Prior to this, I was a Knight Fellow with ICFJ.org and have co-founded two companies. All views expressed here are my personal opinions.
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I've 15 years of experience in media product & technology. By day, I work at a mainstream news site. Prior to this, I was a Knight Fellow with ICFJ.org and have co-founded two companies. All views expressed here are my personal opinions.

With TwitterBlue, Twitter is now both an Escape and Work product

Published Jun 07, 2021
Updated Nov 28, 2021

Recently Twitter launched @TwitterBlue, a $3 monthly subscription service that will give members the ability to undo tweets, organize their bookmarks into folders, and a clean reading experience. 

The service received mixed reviews. What is missed in these reviews is that Twitter Blue isn’t a destination but a momentary step in a larger strategy.

Twitter was always an escape product

Escape activities are what people do subconsciously between work. For example, if you are waiting in a queue, have nothing to do, and quickly check Twitter, you use Twitter as an escape product.

Consumers pay for escape products like Twitter with their time. Twitter monetizes its users’ attention with advertisements.

After ~15 years of existence, something changed in May 2021

A month ago, Twitter launched Tip Jar, and with it, it became a passion-based escape product.

It acknowledged that many creators on the platform had a passionate enough following. Twitter recognized that the followers would tip out of patronage or altruism to support the creator.

Now, with Twitter Blue, Twitter is extending its transition

With Twitter Blue, Twitter is diversifying its offering and revenue, away from just being an escape product.

Unlike escape products, work products help customers solve cognitively heavy tasks that require intent, concentration, and decision-making. The product solves a problem, and in return, customers pay money.

Twitter recognizes that Twitter, for many, isn’t just an escape product but a professional product. Hence, they are giving features to these pro-creators to use Twitter more efficiently.

What can news products learn from this transition?

The Economist is experimenting with a work product. They are launching a $2000+ e-learning course. For more, read this article.

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