Twitter Blue — the social network’s first subscription product to add an undo button to tweets and other minor additions, such as changing the color of icons and adding folders for bookmarks — launched Thursday. It’s limited to Canada and Australia for now, but it’s already garnered attention for lacking the features people would want to pay Twitter for, like no ads, or better tools to deal with harassment.
That makes Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s thread today, the day after the product’s launch, somewhat humorous and frustrating. What can we say: the man likes to talk about bitcoin, even when there are other, more pressing matters!
Square is considering making a hardware wallet for #bitcoin. If we did it, we would build it completely out in the open, from software to hardware design, and in collaboration with the community. We want to get this thinking going the right way: by sharing some of our guiding principles.
— jack (@jack) June 4, 2021
I’m no Bitcoin expert, but sure, creating a product out in the open, with the goal of being inclusive and open source, seems fine to me, especially since Square is already heavily invested in the currency. As with most things people tweet, think of this as a casual musing rather than an official product announcement. Dorsey has made similar statements via Twitter thread — such as funding a decentralized version of Twitter — that have made only small amounts of public progress since being tweeted on the air.
What this might highlight, however, is how Dorsey’s attention is divided as the CEO of both Twitter and payment company Square. The issue has been raised before by one of the company’s investors, Elliott Management. Running Twitter is a job he is increasingly being checked out for, with the Wall Street Journal reporting in October that Dorsey is “blunted to the extreme, partially delegating most important decisions to subordinates so he can pursue his personal passions.” He came out and said today at the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami that if he wasn’t running Square and Twitter, he would be working on bitcoin. Anyway, he seems pretty good at finding a way to work on bitcoin.
Twitter’s recent sprint of new product announcements suggests: someone wants to change things on Twitter. Social audio features like Spaces and creator subscription systems like Super Follows are legitimately interesting – maybe not for Dorsey. But if platform gameCasey Newton’s notesTwitter Blue, as an example of the company’s new focus on power users, doesn’t really offer many features that power users want. And if his silence on the subject is any indication, Dorsey and users may align in their disinterest towards the paid service.
Jack, if you’re listening, there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from becoming a wandering ascetic, living off fake money you minted with an overclocked GPU. If you hate it that much, please let someone else run your website.